ST. LOUIS (KMOV) -- St. Louis County Police have posted a controversial video online showing how to survive an attack from a gunman.
The video is titled “RUN. HIDE. FIGHT. Surviving an Active Shooter Event” and was made by the city of Houston as part of safety campaign.
The St. Louis County Police Department added the video to their website due to the recent rash of public shootings.
The video is drawing controversy because it shows a gunman shooting people with a shotgun in an office setting.
Houston Mayor Annise Parker had the video produced as part of a disaster preparedness plan, with the help of a $200,000 federal grant.
Parker told CBS News, “These incidents are fortunately very, very rare. But they’re not impossible.”
Parker said she believes at least two uncomfortable truths were uncovered by the massacre in Aurora: Mass shootings can happen anywhere, anytime. And people caught in crossfire usually have no idea how to protect themselves.
The safety video offers a simple phrase and is designed to save lives.
The phrase is similar to other safety phrases you might remember, such as “Duck and cover” in the event of a nuclear attack and, in the event of a fire, “Stop, drop and roll.”
Parker said, “In a crisis situation, you ... don’t want to stop and analyze. It’s, ‘I know what to do.’ And it’s automatic. The first instinct is to hide. And as we clearly say in the video, the first thing you need to do is get the heck out of there.”
Parker says the video was completed before the Aurora shootings, but the massacre convinced her office to release it earlier than planned.
St. Louis County Police Chief Tim Fitch says he has no problem with the video and believes every office worker should see it, especially with some of the shootings that have happened in the area.
In January, 2010, three people were killed when a worker opened fire at the ABB plant in St. Louis. Six people were killed the February before when a disgruntled man brought a gun to Kirkwood City Hall.
As far as Fitch is concerned, the video is vital prevention.
“We have a choice. We can ignore it and act like it’s never going to happen again or we can deal with it and time has told us over and over that it continues to happen,” said Fitch.
Fitch says his department is also involved in training to respond to those kinds of shootings. He also says officers of his are asked at least once a day to go to offices where employees are being fired or laid off.
Nationally, the public response has been enormous, with more than 700,000 YouTube views. And Houston City Hall has been getting requests for the video from cities, including St. Louis, as well as businesses coast-to-coast.
The video’s final recommendation: fight back. The video’s narrator says, “Fight, act with aggression. Improvise weapons, disarm him and commit to taking the shooter down, no matter what.”
Parker said the video makes her “sick to (her) stomach that those situations could happen.” But, she added, “It’s part of what we as citizens need to do to protect ourselves.”
As rare as mass shootings are, Parker says if the video saves just one life, it will have been be worth it.
Watch the video below or check it out on YouTube by clicking here.