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How To Talk To Your Children And Prepare For An Active Shooter Emergency

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) - In the wake of recent mass shootings, many people are thinking about how to prepare and understand what you can do in the event of a tragedy.

Whether it's a Wal-mart, outside a bar, inside a synagogue, or at a school, mass shootings can happen anywhere, anytime, reports CBSN New York's Andrea Grymes.

Experts say it's important to have a plan now in case you find yourself in one of these situations.

At only 10 years old, Sebastian Farfan admits mass shootings are on his young mind especially, after this weekend.

He and his mom saw the news and talked about what happened in El Paso and Ohio, a tough conversation for any mother to address. Where to being?

"That it's sad," said Cheryl Farfan. "That it's a crazy world we live in now and we have to just be vigilant and always keep our eyes open and pray."

Dr. Dave Anderson is a clinical psychologist at the Child Mind Institute.

He says if it's likely your child will somehow hear about a mass shooting, no matter how old they are, it's best they hear it from a parent or trusted adult in a few sentences.

"It's one of these things where, you want to give them the facts of at least what happened, but then you want to just open it up," said Anderson, adding that it's OK for children and parents to talk about their feelings.

He says parents should also assure them, for the most part, kids are safe.

In addition to the mental aspect of dealing with mass shootings, experts say it's important that families have a physical plan so everyone knows what to do if they are in an active shooter situation.

The DHS says the most important thing to do when deciding whether to run, hide or fight is to commit to your decision and continuously re-evaluate the situation.


Running is the first option when an active shooter is in your vicinity.

Leave your belongings behind and evacuate, regardless of whether others agree to follow.

Call 911 when you're safe.


If you can't run, hide in an area out of the shooter's view.

Lock the door or block entry to your hiding place.

Silence your cell phone.


The DHS says fighting is the last resort and only when your life is in imminent danger.

Act with as much physical aggression as possible.

Improvise weapons or throw items at the shooter.

More Resources

The Department of Homeland Security has numerous resources through its website, along with online guides from FEMA and


From The Department Of Homeland Security


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