LAUREL, Md. (WUSA) -- After the massacre in Newtown and other mass attacks, police agencies across the country started re-thinking their strategies -- and their advice to the rest of us potential victims.
The advice for most of us can be summed up in three words: Run, Hide, or Fight.
Mass attacks are now so common, swift and deadly that some police agencies are recommending that all of us practice dealing with them... just like we practice a fire drill. "The prepared person is going to respond. The unprepared person is going to panic," says Laurel, Md Deputy Police Chief Jimmy Brooks.
"Always try to escape or evacuate, even when others insist on staying," says a video from the Houston, Tx Office of Public Safety that's getting a ton of play on YouTube. It was funded in part by the US Department of Homeland Security. And it suggests sometimes your only choice is to fight back. "Whether working alone or as a group, fight."
Hiding worked from some of the children at Sandy Hook Elementary. But school safety expert Ed Clarke says running is a tough choice for a teacher -- because a teacher can only run as fast as his or her slowest student.
But Laurel's deputy chief says it makes sense to prepare. "People are actually thinking, am I sitting next to a window? What do I have to break that window out? Well, I have my chair."
After Columbine, a lot of police departments re-thought their own response. Now a group of officers will rush in... But the latest massacres have some departments advising the very first officer to go in alone.
"We have to go in immediately, because that's what saves lives," says Deputy Chief Brooks" "And if there are little kids in there?" "Absolutely. We tell the officers, you have to commit as if that was your child in the building."
An analysis of nearly 100 mass shootings by researchers in Texas found it took police an average of three minutes to respond. And half of the shooting were over before that. So to save your life, you may have to act before the cops get there.