That's the premise behind the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department's new video "Surviving an Active Shooter."
"We wanted to make it realistic. We wanted to affect people's emotions because that's how people remember things," said Sgt. Harry Drucker, who produced the video.
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With the help of Hollywood professionals, dozens of volunteers and a tiny budget, the team created a rare "how to" instructional video telling viewers what to do to survive.
Active shooting incidents are on the rise. In the last five years, the U.S. has averaged almost 19 per year.
"What we wanted to do was have a variety of locations that people could see themselves in or places that they have been. Everybody goes to a mall. Everbody goes to a library or school," Drucker said.
According to the FBI, almost half of active shooter incidents happen in places of business, such as a mall or the workplace. One out of every four incidents takes place at a school.
The vast majority of active shooter incidents in the U.S. are carried out by males acting alone. Although they are tragically successful in inflicting many casualties, they also are often a lone threat. For victims, that means only one person to get away from, to fight off and/or disarm.
Since 2000, 13 percent of active shooter gunmen have been stopped by unarmed citizens.
Sheriff Jim McDonnell said his deputies constantly train for these scenarios, but in most cases the shooting is over before law enforcement can arrive.
"Whatever the venue you're going to is a potential site for one of these incidents. You can't rule out that it will happen this trip to the mall, this trip to the supermarket, and you need to be prepared," McDonnell said.
Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department is hoping that the information in the video will help those when they need it.
"If we can show just one small thing that somebody remembers, we could save their life," Drucker said.
For more information, visit activeshooter.lasd.org.