COLORADO SPRINGS — Active shooter situations are unpredictable and evolve quickly. Experts say it's not enough to simply "know" the exits anymore. You also have to put a plan in place.
In active shooter situations we usually think of the phrase "Run, Hide, Fight." The Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Center in Texas, or ALERRT, offers a modified version: Avoid, Deny, Defend.
ALERRT experts say if you can avoid the attacker, you should! If, for some reason, you can't get away from the attacker, say you're in an office and you hear gunfire in the hallway, the next best thing is to deny access to your location to keep them from getting to you.
The last resort is to defend yourself.
"It all comes down to minimizing that time to get in front of the actor, " explained FBI Special Agent, Gordon B. Johnson.
There's also a difference between denying access versus simply hiding. "Hide" doesn't mean ducking under a desk and hoping the attacker won't find you.
"On an average of three minutes, cops are going to show up and take the shooter's attention away from you towards them. Those three minutes belong to you, and it's up to you to survive," said another FBI Special Agent, during an ALERRT training course.
You don't have to go to a training course to practice going over these terms. Experts say the next time you are at Target, Walmart or King Soopers, look up and find the exit signs that have always been there, and recite the phrase: Avoid, Deny, Defend.