In the event of a mass shooting or attack, you should run and hide. But should you fight?

A deadly attack.
A deadly attack.
Image: Reuters/Steve Marcus
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The American and British advice for what to do in a terror attack or incidence of mass violence is pretty similar—with one notable exception.

The British advice for such an incident—such as last night’s shooting in Las Vegas, which has killed more than 50 people—is to run, hide, and tell.  The UK’s counter-terrorism police has made the unprecedented call for that message to now be taught in schools across the country. The new advice that has been drawn up includes not stopping and using phones until they are clearly safe from danger.

While Europeans are told to alert authorities during a mass shooting, in the US the national protocol is to “run, hide, and fight” (pdf). If running and hiding is not an option and your life is in imminent danger, the Department of Homeland Security advises people to “attempt to incapacitate the shooter” and to “act with physical aggression and throw items at the active shooter.”

There is also conflicting transatlantic advice on whether you should take pictures or video with phones.

In responding to the Las Vegas shooting, the police had asked people to not post videos of police officers on duty at the scene, but to also hand over any footage that might be helpful to them. While the plethora of pictures and videos can help authorities piece together what exactly has taken place, it can also detract from the police response; by adding to the rumor and misinformation spread online and risks exposing police positions to attackers.

But just last week, London’s Metropolitan Police deputy assistant commissioner Lucy D’Orsi spoke of her concern of “people—young and old—using their mobiles to film scenes when they should be moving away from the danger.” D’Orsi pointed to the most recent terrorist attack in the UK as a prime example, where images of a partially exploded bomb on a train at Parsons Green were posted online within minutes of the attack.