I find it difficult to write this article, but my “gut” tells me that I should. First, let me make it clear that this article is not about the pros and cons of gun control, nor is it about any particular cultural group. It is about ways to prepare and protect yourself and your staff from the bad guys. In a sense, you might say that it is a ‘call to action’. Acts of terror are sprouting up in all types of places. The fact is that every time you or I or someone we know goes where large numbers of people congregate, there is a risk of a terrorist attack. For instance, the following are some of the surprise attacks that took place in 2015: June 17th, a white man opened fire in a black church in Charleston, S.C., killing nine people; October 1st, a lone gunman opened fire at an Oregon college, killing ten; November 16th, a well planned and coordinated terroristic attack devastated Paris, France, with shootings and bombs leaving at least 129 people dead and hundreds more wounded, of which over 100 were in critical condition; November 27th, a lone gunman opened fire in a Planned Parenthood clinic, killing three in his rampage; and December 2nd, a heavily armed man and woman terrorized San Bernardino, California by storming a building and killing fourteen and injuring another twenty-one.
Do not let the incredibly small likelihood of an attack keep you away from your workplace, from shopping, worshipping, or even spending recreation time with others. The likelihood of you and/or your staff becoming involved in an active shooter attack is extremely low. However, just as you have been taught how to prepare for and survive weather-related and other types of disasters, it’s now time for you to be on the alert to the possibility of a terrorist attack happening.
Advance preparedness is key. Don’t wait for an attack to happen. Keep in mind, your best weapon is that “thing” between your ears. Don’t lose your cool! Remember, in horrifying situations, the number one life saving mentality is to stay positive, so that you don’t panic.
1. If you work in a mall or similar complex, ensure that you and your staff are clearly briefed on that location’s Emergency Action Plan. If you are in a free-standing building, make certain that you have plans for evacuation and/or self defense in the event of a terrorist attack or other emergency.
Meet with local police, listen closely to recommendations. Just remember, in these situations the police will respond as best they can, but it’s unrealistic to think they will be able to quickly protect you. Every second counts, and that’s why you must plan and prepare in advance.
2. Know the locations of the closest exits and where they lead.
3. Identify sources that would help to shield you in event you are under attack, or in need of things to help barricade a backroom, or where to hide under desks, or even in a food court.
4. Keep cell phones fully charged. It’s also a good idea to have at least one good flashlight and knife on hand. (If under attack ensure that your cell phone is on silent, so as not to alert the attacker to your hiding place.)
5. Review and rehearse with your staff your preparedness plan. Also, prominently display key information and telephone numbers.
In no way should those five preparedness items listed above be considered as complete. Remember, Knowledge is power -hopefully you will never need any of those items listed above. But, it never hurts to prepare for the unexpected.
While I only talked about preparing for a possible terrorist attack, it’s equally important that you know and understand what actions you should take in event you are under fire. These topics should be covered by your local police, mall and/or your specific location’s action plans. God Bless America! $