WASHINGTON (WUSA9) -- Are you prepared if a gunman walks in to your place of business or maybe busts into the mall you're shopping at?
Matt Maasdam is a former Navy Seal, former Military Aide to the President, and the Founder of Move2Safety, a company that teaches people to escape workplace and school shootings. We invited Maasdam into WUSA9's building to teach us all how to survive.
His first observance, "There's a lot of glass in this office which is great for light. It's good and bad, Somebody could come through if they decided to, but you guys could get out. So if you had the right hammers that break glass you could actually get away from the scenario quicker."
We asked Maasdam what's the one thing for people to remember, "Absolute first thing you have to do is move, you need to move away from the threat." Maasdam says your odds of survival are always greater if you flee, than if you decide to hide, "These cubicles are not ballistic so despite the fact that if you got down behind them, somebody could shoot through that."
He says when you leave, stay close to the ground. "When you stand up, you present a large target for the gunman to shoot. If you stay low, your vitals are lower and you present much less of a target to the shooter." He says it's critical to know where your exits are, that includes windows, "Glass can be considered an exit as well. If you can break through the glass and get out through a window, you're as safe as if you got out through a door."
He says the one thing you shouldn't do is hide.
"It happened at Columbine, it happened at Fort Hood, it happened in Tucson, it happens in almost all these shootings that people don't know what to do, so they just hunker down, they get under their desk and hope that the shooter doesn't see them. And the shooter walks along and has an easy shot."
Maasdam assesses our workplace saying, "These cubicles are not ballistic so despite the fact that if you got down behind them, somebody could shoot through that."
What if you're hiding, and you end up in a place where you can't get out?
Maasdam says, "Make sure you lock the door. Shut off the lights, silence your phone. I wouldn't shut it off but make sure that it doesn't ring. These guys are notoriously terrible shooters so they come in and they shoot and hit a moving target at less than 4%. But, if they come up and you're under your desk, they're not going to miss."
And if you find yourself in a hiding spot, he says be prepared, "You should grab a heavy item or a pencil or whatever you have in your office in an effort so if that person comes through the door, you have to 'ruin their day' is what we say. These guys plan for perfect scenarios or they're mentally ill and they don't plan. If you can incapacitate them for even a minute or a second, then that gives you an opportunity to get away."
If a gunman blasts into a parking garage that you're in, Maasdam says hide behind the engine of a car, not the doors or the trunk because a bullet has less of a chance to penetrate the engine block.