Survive an active shooter: What an NJ FBI agent taught his children
Do you have a plan for yourself and your family if you find yourself in an active shooter situation?
The head of the FBI Newark office says you should and recently shared his own plan for his family.
When there is a break in the fire, that's when we run.
I recently hosted a Town Hall event titled 'Safe and Sound in New Jersey.'
The program featured local, state and federal law enforcement experts talking about threats New Jersey residents face and the best way to keep yourself and your family safe.
Every day, we face danger from radical extremists and extremist organizations operating in New Jersey. The FBI, the New Jersey Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness and local law enforcement are charged with investigating and preventing the unthinkable.
However, despite best their best efforts, it is only a matter of time before the unthinkable happens in New Jersey.
Is your family prepared?
James Dennehy was named special agent in charge of he Newark Field Office of the FBI in 2022.
Prior to his assignment in New Jersey, Dennehy worked counterintelligence cases in New York where he also served on the SWAT team.
Before joining the FBI, he served as an officer in the U.S. Marine Corps with multiple overseas deployments.
So, what is Dennehy's plan to keep his family safe in the event they get caught in the middle of an active shooter situation?
On the program, Dennehy says "it's terrible" to have to talk about this.
"I hate having to talk about this," Dennehy said, but it is the new reality.
"Think about the number of active shootings that take place. It's yesterday's news by the end of the day because they happen so often."
In response to the rise in mass shooting a few years ago, the FBI lawman says he came up with a plan for his family.
He says they developed their own code words with different meanings indicating what they should do in a given situation.
Dennehy says he taught his children, "The small kids get on the ground first. The bigger kids get on top of them."
When there is a break in fire, "That's when we run," he says.
Agent Dennehy and all of our law enforcement experts appearing on the program agreed every family should have a plan.
Just the way you might rehearse how to escape if a fire breaks out in your home, you should rehearse what to do if confronted with an active shooter situation.
Both the FBI and New Jersey Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness promote the Run, Hide Fight method of surviving a mass shooting incident.
They advise everyone to identify an escape route in every situation so you can run to safety.
If you can't run, hide in an area that is out of the shooter's view.
As a last resort, you may have to fight. Attempt to incapacitate the shooter, and act with as much physical aggression as possible.
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