Hollywood, MD- The recent mass shooting at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport is a sad reminder that you need to be prepared for these types of events.
As we’ve learned over the past few years, a mass shooting can happen anywhere; airports, schools, nightclubs, churches, etc. It pays to be prepared and know in advance how to react, should you ever find yourself in this type of situation.
Running - This should be your first priority. Get yourself as far away from the shooter as fast as possible. If your only exit is blocked by the shooter, be ready to hide or fight.
Know your escape route - Pay attention to emergency exits, fire escapes and windows. It’s best to identify at least two escape routes out of your location, in case the shooter is blocking one of them.
React immediately - Don’t freeze up to take time figuring out your next move. Identify an exit and run. If you have shoes on that prevent you from running, take them off. Leave everything behind. Those precious few seconds it takes to collect your belongings could make a difference in your safety.
Run directly to the exit - Unless you’re in direct line of sight with the shooter, avoid evasive moves like running in a zig-zag. Run as fast as you can toward the exit and directly to safety.
Bring people with you - As you’re running, if you see someone who looks scared or disoriented, grab them and drag them with you. There is also safety in numbers. If you’re with a large group it will be harder for a shooter to single you out.
If you can’t run, hide- If the shooter is approaching or blocking your only escape route, find a place to hide and barricade yourself in immediately.
Lock and barricade the door - Lock the door immediately. Look around the room and find anything you can to block the door; chairs, desks, tables, etc. Most shooters will look for the path of least resistance and a barricade will most likely deter the shooter from entering.
Turn off the lights - This will make the shooter less likely to enter the room, and slightly increase your chance of survival if he does.
Find cover - Look for brick or concrete walls, steel beams or thick trees. If you’re trapped in a room, find a thick piece of furniture that could protect you from gunfire.
Turn off anything that makes noise - Silence your phone and other electronics so you don’t give away your hiding spot.
Call 9-1-1- A mass shooting typically continues for five minutes before anyone calls the police. Also, use a landline if you can. The police can automatically trace the call. If you can’t reach emergency services, set off a sprinkler system or fire alarm to automatically call the fire department.
Try to stay calm - It might seem impossible if you’re in this situation, but it’s crucial to remain absolutely silent. Be mentally prepared for the possibility that you could come face to face with the shooter and you’ll have no choice but to fight.
Contact Joy Shrum at firstname.lastname@example.org