Cell phones during active shooter situations: helpful or harmful?

Local

The newsroom shooting in Maryland is prompting law enforcement agencies across the country to increase security around media organizations. And now, some are questioning the role of technology during an active shooter situation.
It’s not uncommon to read tweets and texts, which often come from victims hiding from shooters.

But while a cellphone can keep you in touch with loved ones, it can also work against you in chaotic situations.

While in the middle of an active shooter situation it may be hard to think about your phone, but law enforcement says try to turn it to silent mode.

Specific tweets or social media posts could also alert an attacker to your exact location.

Family members who think a loved one may be near an active shooter can help – by not calling.

If you’re hiding and your phone rings or buzzes or creates some kind of noise, that’s going to alert the intruder where you are,” says Vanderburgh County Sheriff Dave Wedding. “I would not call somebody in that situation, because you’re not really going to help them, you might actually harm their ability to try and get away. Oftentimes, people spend time talking to someone on the phone when they ought to be active, because you have several options. You can run, you can hide, and you can fight. “

Of course, police say prevention is still key. They advise being aware of your surroundings day-to-day in the workplace, as well as listening for any abnormal sounds during your day. Both can help you get a head start on any shooter.

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(This story was originally published June 29, 2018)

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