In light of recent events such as the attacks on Paris and Brussels among the seemingly increasing occurrence of similar attacks here at home, we’ve done some research into how to stay alive in such an attack. With the news what it is and ISIS announcing plans for a similar attack on American soil, the refugee crisis in Europe or the increase in mass shootings at schools and public venues, taking a few minutes to read the guide below may save not only your life, but the lives of those around you.
Understanding The Situation
Active Shooter events happen quickly and usually unexpectedly, in the workplace, a restaurant, movie theater, it can happen anywhere. Sometimes they are over in minutes, some can last hours with untold variables in play. It can be a lone gunman with a grudge or a pack of assailants bent on causing as much destruction as possible. Hostages may be taken, explosives or boobytraps may be used, it could be spontaneous or it can be a well planned and thought out attack. The list of factors that can affect the situation goes on.
Simple preparation can go a long way in surviving an active shooter scenario and can be useful in multiple situations. Simple things such as basic First Aid, CPR certification (which as a parent, is a bare minimum) and self defense training. When considering what kind of medical training, the basic principle to keep in mind is “start the breathing, stop the bleeding”. These skills can come in handy beyond a terror attack but can be indispensable when a lunatic takes hostages at the movie theater and help may be hours away.
There is also active preparation, such as paying attention to your surroundings, knowing the exits of a building, and having a plan everywhere you go. It doesn’t take but a minute of your time to take in your surroundings when walking into any building, to take note of the exits, the fastest way to them, and the potential hazards or obstructions you may face. Simply put, have an escape plan in your head whether you are sitting down to dinner with your family at a restaurant or out to see a movie or concert with friends.
Be Ready For When Law Enforcement Shows Up
You also need to be prepared for the intervention of law-enforcement. Information from The Department for Homeland Security advises the following concerning how to react to law-enforcement in an emergency scenario:
• Remain calm, and follow officer’s’ instructions
• Put down any items in your hands (i.e., bags, jackets)
• Immediately raise hands and spread fingers
• Keep hands visible at all times
• Avoid making quick movements toward officers such as holding on to them for safety
• Avoid pointing, screaming and/or yelling
• Do not stop to ask officers for help or direction when evacuating, just proceed in the direction from which officers are entering the premises.
In addition, bare in mind that LEOs may not be in patrol uniforms but rather tactical gear such as SWAT officers. This is why it is incredibly important remain calm and maintain full situational awareness. You don’t want to mistake law-enforcement as a threat and risk harm to either them or yourself. As hard as it may be to stay calm in a situation like this, keeping your wits about you goes far beyond any preparations you can make. Let’s move on to what to do if you find yourself in a situation like the Brussels or San Bernardino Attack.