A few years ago, City of Houston leaders began noting the rising frequency of deadly workplace or public place gun violence nationwide, with one recurring feature — the attacker randomly targeted as many victims as possible. Such crimes have become known as “active shooter” incidents.
Deciding on a pro-active stance using grant money from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the City of Houston partnered with Gilbreath Communications, Inc. to produce a short video to inform and visually instruct Houston residents about three potentially life-saving actions — run, hide, fight — if ever faced with an active shooter situation.
Houston officials released the video, accompanied by a press release, shortly after the shooting massacre in an Aurora, Colorado movie theater on July 20, 2012. As a result of the video’s release occurring only days after the Aurora tragedy, viewership quickly soared as the video went viral on YouTube with more than 3.2 million hits to date.
Dennis Storemski, Director of the City of Houston Mayor’s Office of Public Safety and Homeland Security, said the video’s purpose was to spread awareness on how to react to such an unpleasant, but possible event. “The old adage from the fire department is ‘Stop, Drop and Roll’ if you catch on fire,” he said. “We were looking for a (similar) catchy phrase, which is why we came up with ‘Run.Hide.Fight.®’ We believe it’s a good idea for employers to at least provide some training to their employees about how to react if something like this happens.”
Coverage of the video, featuring both description of the video and details from the press release, spread across the United States — from local Houston area print and broadcast media, to the major national broadcasting networks and to elite print media such as The New York Times. Overseas, the Daily Mail, the United Kingdom’s second-biggest selling daily newspaper, was among the foreign news media organizations publicizing the video.
The video and subsequent press coverage have been recognized by the local chapters of the American Advertising Federation, the American Marketing Association and the Public Relations Society of America. Additionally, the video received a bronze Telly Award, the premier award honoring film and video productions internationally.