Protecting Yourself During a Mass Shooting
No one ever imagines that a mass shooting like the one at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland could happen in their own community, but sadly, it has become a frequent occurrence. Is it possible to stay safe dusing a mass shooting? Safety and security experts all agree that the best way to protect yourself is to prepare mentally and physically so you can safeguard your life during the situation.
Here are some tips that can help.
Be aware of your surroundings
Know what’s going on around you. Paying attention to people and places can help you spot potential danger. Also, always take notice of the nearest emergency exits, and all entrance and exit points where you are. If you see something, say something.
During a shooting you have three options, Run, Hide or Fight. This can greatly increase your chance of survival.
• If there is a possibility to evacuate, take it and do so whether others agree to follow or not. After you’re safe, call 911.
• If evacuation isn’t possible, hide. Choose a place that’s out of the shooter’s view, that has a door that can be locked, and with heavy furniture inside to barricade the door. Turn off lights and stay out of view so that it appears to be unoccupied.
• If you’re hiding, silence your cell phone and any other electronic device. If neither evacuation or hiding is possible, the last resort when your life is in immediate danger is to fight. Choose any item that can be used as a weapon and be as aggressive as possible against the attacker. If you can take on him or her as a group, the better the chances.
Have a plan
The most effective and important way to increase your survival during a mass shooting is to always have an emergency plan.
• If you are at work or school, be sure to know your surroundings such as the emergency exits and layout of the building. The same applies to any event you attend such as concerts, movie theaters, etc.
• Emergency plans should also include the type of action you can take in case immediate evacuation is not possible.
Get out and keep moving
Staying in one place even if hiding under a desk, may make you more of a target.
• If your first instinct is to flee, even if the attacker sees you, running and moving will make it more difficult for the shooter.
• Even if you don’t have cover, running away from the “kill zone” is may be your best option.
The Department of Safety, Security, and Emergency Preparedness at Broward College offers several resources to prepare you for an active shooter situation. You can find an active shooter booklet and other materials on their website.
We hope you never have to experience an event like this, but preparation is key to survival. There are many tips that can help you during a mass shooting, but the aftermath can be a traumatic time. In response to the tragedy at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, several local support resources and services have been made available to anyone in need.
If you have been affected by the recent tragedy or any other crisis, Broward County offers an emotional support hotline as well as other community resources. You can call 211 anytime.
Broward County Public Schools is offering grief counseling. Contact your local school for more information.
Broward College Student Assitance and Employee Support Services
Broward College students can receive free counseling services by contacting the Henderson Student Counseling Services 24-hour hotline at 954-424-6916. Similar services are available for employees and students through CIGNA by calling the Employee Assistance Program at 1-888-371-1125.
For more information, contact your local police department or the Department of Safety, Security, and Emergency Preparedness at Broward College for additional resources to prepare an active shooter situation.