City of Houston
A scene from the 'Run. Hide. Fight.' video released by the City of Houston.

Run, Hide, Fight: How to Respond to a Workplace Shooting

Aug. 3, 2012
The City of Houston’s new public service announcement video describes three strategies to use in response to a workplace or public shooting: run, hide, fight.

Set against dramatic music, narration and camera shots reminiscent of an action movie, a new video released by the City of Houston offers safety tips for responding to a workplace shooting.

The City of Houston Mayor’s Office of Public Safety and Homeland Security released the 6-minute video, “Run. Hide. Fight. Surviving an Active Shooter Event” following the tragic July 20 movie theater shooting in Aurora, Co., where 12 people died and 58 others were wounded.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims of Aurora's tragic shooting, along with their friends, family and community," said Houston Mayor Annise Parker. "I can't imagine the horror and grief. If it is at all possible for any good to come out of it, perhaps it can be letting people know the options to consider if it happens again."

“If you are ever to find yourself in the middle of an active shooter event, your survival may depend on whether or not you have a plan,” the video explained. “The plan does not have to be complicated. There are three things you can do to make a difference: run, hide, fight.”

The video goes into detail about each of these three strategies when an active shooter is present:


  • When an active shooter is in your vicinity, run.
  • If there is an escape path, attempt to evacuate.
  • Evacuate whether others agree to or not.
  • Leave your belongings behind.
  • Help others escape if possible.
  • Prevent others from entering the area.
  • Call 9-1-1 when you are safe.


  • If evacuation is not possible, find a place to hide.
  • Lock and/or barricade the door.
  • Silence your cell phone.
  • Turn out the lights.
  • Hide behind large objects.
  • Remain very quiet.
  • Your hiding place should be out of the shooter’s view, provide protection if shots are fired in your direction and not trap or restrict your options for movement.


  • As a last resort, if your life is in danger, fight back.
  • Attempt to incapacitate the shooter.
  • Act with physical aggression.
  • Improvise weapons, such as using a chair or fire extinguisher to strike the shooter.
  • Commit to your actions.

Finally, when law enforcement arrives, the video advises viewers to remain calm and follow directions; keep your hands visible at all times; avoid pointing or yelling; and know that help for the injured is on the way. “The first responders on the scene are not there to evacuate or tend the injured. They are well trained and are there to stop the shooter,” the video explained.

“We hope our residents are never confronted with such an event, but we want to prepare them with some important information if they ever find themselves in this situation,” said Dennis J. Storemski, director of the Mayor's Office of Public Safety and Homeland Security.

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