COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - Run, hide and fight are words that are becoming increasingly popular as active shooter situations become the reality for more and more schools across the country, with a school-related shooting happening at Delta State just this week.
Now, many schools and universities are taking action to be prepared, just in case the unthinkable happens. On Wednesday, Columbus State University hosted a lecture on the topic as a part of National Campus Safety Awareness Month.
"California State, Appalachian School of Law, Virginia Tech," and the list goes on and on says CSU Police Sgt. Brett Stanelle, and Columbus State University is one school officials don't want added to the infamous group.
Chip Reese, the Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs, reflects on how times have changed for students across the country, with old issues now seeming trivial.
"Chewing gum in class, a boyfriend, girlfriend spat, and just in a short period of time, really over the last ten, fifteen years, we've seen that escalate into targeted acts of violence and random acts of violence," said Reese.
On Wednesday, students and faculty members sat in on some safety tips from the university's police force.
"There might not be any rhyme or reason to who is being targeted," said Stanelle, and in many cases it's a "numbers game" experts explain, where shooters are seeking as many "easy" targets as possible.
Officers say you can make yourself a hard target by finding the nearest exit and running, using items like a podium to barricade yourself, or as a last resort, finding an object to help you fight.
"A fire extinguisher can be used as a distracting agent, to create a cloud, and also as a blunt force object," said Stanelle.
If you do run out to an open space like a courtyard or parking lot, officials say consider seeking cover rather than concealment. Hiding behind a tree or bush for example may keep your presence hidden, but it won't stop a bullet.
Officers advise crouching behind an engine or tire which provide the biggest buffer between you and any shots flying by.
Officials also say you should wait until an officer finds you to come out of your hiding spot. They advise asking them to slide their badge under the door, or call 911 to verify an officer is at your door and not a gunman knocking instead.