There has been a lot of focus lately on public safety. In the wake of the horrific massacre in Orlando there has been a renewed public outcry to DO SOMETHING to ensure our safety.
We wanted to weigh in on the subject, given that we have a professional focus on safety issues.
How to Respond to an Emergency Situation
The first step in solving a problem is to identify it.
So let’s get to the root of the issue. Take the Pulse Nightclub, since that is the most recent attack on our soil.
• Florida law prohibits guns in bars
• The music was loud and when the attack began many mistook the sound of gunfire for bass beats
• There were a lot of people crowded into a small space with few exits and few hiding places
• The public has been conditioned to wait for “trained professionals” to rescue them
• Most people were in “condition blue” – the lowest state of readiness for an emergency
Let’s further dissect this:
Obviously this is a law that gives us a FEELING of being safe because dangerous weapons are not allowed.
But what is the reality compared to the perception?
The ugly truth is that criminals don’t care if it is against the law for them to have a gun in these places. Think about it…someone who is willing to COMMIT MURDER is not really worried if it is against the law to have a gun in a given area.
So what have we really done?
We have created a safety net for the criminal – a place where some deranged psychopath can inflict maximum carnage before someone with a gun shows up to stop them. So perhaps we should change the term to “defense free zones” or “victim rich zones” if we want to be accurate.
When the attack began at the Pulse Nightclub an observant DJ stopped the music. (Bravo for that guy’s thinking!)
This quickly got everyone’s attention and no longer masked the sound of gunfire.
We can learn several things from this:
For one thing, it shows how important it is to be aware of your surroundings (we will cover this more later). We’ve got to be tuned in to pick up sights and sounds that don’t belong.
The DJ also moved a screen and directed many to a stage door, saving the lives of dozens of people. (Again, bravo for this DJ!)
When you go into a building, do you look for the exits?
Will you remember where they are if the lights go out or the room fills with smoke?
If something bad does happen, have you already formulated a game plan?
Yeah, we tune out when we get these kind of safety briefings, but just noting the position of an exit could save your life in a bad situation.
But what if there’s really not a way to escape?
The news media tells us that, in a crisis, we should call 911 and stay on the line with the dispatcher.
We often hear the terms: “shelter in place,” or “don’t take matters into your own hands.” But in reality, the criminal has already forced us to be our own first responders.
Police are often minutes away, and seconds make a difference between life and death.
How we react, the choices we make, can decide whether we are a victim or a survivor. The first person who is responsible for your safety is you.
What “condition” do you go through life in?
Most of the people in a nightclub, a school, a shopping mall or their home are in what’s called condition blue.
It is far safer to maintain at least condition green. In this level, we are fairly relaxed, but also aware of what is going on around us and mentally prepared to react if something does go wrong.
The next level, condition yellow, is when there is a recognized possibility of something bad happening. We are mentally more alert and prepared to mobilize if need be.
Condition red is when there is a recognized threat and we are reacting in a defensive manner, making an active effort to escape the threat.
Condition white is when we have no choice but to fight for our life.
These color codes are taken from the DEFCON military readiness scale, but I have adapted them to real life civilian use.
If you choose to be a survivor, you must take an active role.
Here is what most people don’t understand:
The government has no duty to protect the individual.
In fact, there have been several court cases where people were killed and the police did nothing to stop it even though they could have, and the Supreme Court has upheld the precedent that law enforcement is not obligated to help you or rescue you.
Only you are responsible for your own safety.
As an adult, it is your responsibility.
We can pass all the laws in the world, but evil people will still do bad things. When they do, we call someone with a gun to come stop them.
Those people may congregate outside for 2 or more hours before they make the call to breach the wall and save whoever is left inside…because THEIR safety is their priority, and rightfully so.
So, if we want to have a chance at surviving a violent attack, we must make a choice whether to arm ourselves.
If we make that decision, we must then seek out training to become proficient in that defense.
And, though it is often overlooked, we must also mentally prepare for the possibility that at any given time, in any given place, something bad COULD happen.
Have a plan.
Be a responsible adult.
Be a survivor.
Don’t be fooled by the feeling of safety…it’s only an illusion.