CHARLOTTE,N.C. -- A customer was forced to lay on the floor when a gunman robbed a popular local gas station in newly released surveillance video.  Now police are stepping up the search for an armed and dangerous criminal.

Anyone could get caught in the middle of an armed robbery, but after talking to police, how a person reacts in those frantic seconds could mean life or death.

Surveillance video from a robbery at the QT in Rock Hill was released as police continue to search for the suspect.

The video shows an armed robber reach for the cash register. The gunman forced a customer to the ground.

After seeing that alarming footage, NBC Charlotte wanted to know how to survive a stick up. We shared the video with the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department and they showed us step-by-step how to handle the dangerous situation.

"They're probably going to tell you put your hands up this is a robbery," said Johnathan Frisk, a CMPD crime prevention specialist.

"What's the first thing I should do if somebody comes out has a gun?" NBC Charlotte's Xavier Walton asked.

"Well you know naturally you want to show them, 'Hey, I'm complying with you,'" said Frisk.  "You want to show them your hands that you're not reaching down in your pocket, you're not doing anything out of the ordinary."

"A lot of times these days when something happens people take their cell phones out. Do you recommend that?"  asked Walton.

"No.  We don't want someone to try and be a hero and go off and try and tackle somebody or anything crazy like that," said Frisk.  "It's just not worth it."