updated 9:22 PM UTC, Jul 8, 2020

Back to school safety tips from Sheriff Department

Tyler County Sheriff Bryan Weatherford and Chief Deputy Phil Ryan want to remind citizens to be aware of the dangers of certain situations, such as an active shooter, that could occur now that school is starting up again.

"We hate that our world is in such a place that we even have to speak of this type of crime, but with it being time to go back to school we thought that we would publish some information that can help prepare for bad events that we hope and pray do not happen." Ryan said.

Both Ryan and Weatherford say that the key to surviving an active shooter situation is to remember, "Run, Hide, Fight."

"When an active shooter is in your vicinity, you should run," said Ryan."If you can get out, do. Always try to escape or evacuate, even when others insist on staying. Encourage others to leave with you, but don't let them slow you down with indecision. Remember what's important: you, not your stuff. Leave your belongings behind and try to find a way to get out safely. Trying to get yourself out of harm's way needs to be your number one priority. Once you are out of the line of fire, try to prevent others from walking into the danger zone and call 9-1-1."

If evacuation is not possible, find a place to hide.

"If you can't get out safely, you need to find a place to hide," said Weatherford. "Act quickly and quietly and try to secure your hiding place the best you can. Turn out lights, and if possible, remember to lock doors. Silence your ringer and vibration mode on your cell phone and if you can't find a safe room or closet, try to conceal yourself behind large objects that may protect you. Do your best to remain quiet and calm."

According to Weatherford and Ryan, fighting can be used as a last resort only if your life is in danger.

"As a last resort, if your life is at risk, whether you are alone or working as a group, you should fight," Weatherford said. "Act with aggression and improvise weapons. Disarm and commit to taking the shooter down, no matter what."

In any situation, the sheriffs department encourages everyone to be aware of the environment and always have an exit plan.

"In an incident like this victims are generally chosen randomly," Ryan said. "The event is unpredictable and may evolve quickly. The first responders on the scene are not there to evacuate of tend to the injured, they are well trained and are there to stop the shooter."

The Tyler County Sheriff's Department wants citizens to know that your actions can make a difference for your safety and survival and to always be aware and be prepared. If you find yourself faced with an active shooter, there are three things you need to remember to survive: Run, Hide, Fight.

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