It is important to have a plan in place in the event of an active shooter situation. Lee Barton, Investigation & Security Manager for Canopy Children’s Solutions, conducted Active Shooter Training at agency locations across the state to engage employees in knowing what to do in the event of an active shooter situation. These basic principles can also be applied away from work to ensure the safety of your children and family.

“It’s important to think about what you would do in a stressful situation before you find yourself in one,” said Lee during the Lakeland training class. “It is much more difficult to think under pressure when you haven’t committed your plan to memory or thought about next steps.”

During the training, Lee introduced the concept of RHF: Run, Hide, Fight. Awareness of your surroundings is the first critical step in putting this plan into place. Being aware of exits, secure spaces, and materials you can use for protection greatly increases your survival rate during an emergency.


Whenever entering a building, knowing the location of the nearest exit is a critical factor in maintaining your safety. In a location you frequent often (such as your office), strategizing an escape route ahead of an emergency will save you valuable time. If an incident arises, knowing where the danger is will help you determine if you can access the nearest exit. If the route is clear, exit the building as fast as you can and encourage others to come with you—if someone refuses, keep moving. Once you have exited the building, retreat to a safe location and call 911. Don’t re-enter the building for any reason.


If you find your escape route to be blocked and are unable to safely evacuate to another exit, find a secure location to hide. Blocking doors with heavy furniture or equipment will provide an added layer of protection. Turn out the light, silence your phone and remain quiet. Listen for signs of nearing danger and properly equip yourself in case you have to fight. Remain there until authorities have located you and tell you it is safe to exit.


Fighting should be your last resort; don’t engage an attacker unless you have to. Examine your surroundings for ways to defend or protect yourself. Most anything can become a weapon in an emergency situation—chairs, fire extinguishers, stapler, aerosol sprays, scissors, books, trash cans, shoes, etc. Get creative, it may save your life. If facing an attacker, continue to fight until the attack ceases. Don’t give up.

Knowing your plan of action in advance of an emergency can mean the difference in survival. Other key things to keep in mind for the safety of our children and co-workers:

  • If you see something suspicious, say something
  • Keep secure access doors closed and locked at all times
  • Don’t allow strangers access to secure areas—they should be escorted by the individual they came to see
  • Always be aware of your environment and individuals around you

Be Aware. Be Prepared.

You can learn more about Run Hide Fight from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s website