Friday, February 06, 2015

Surviving an Active Shooter

I'm writing today from my dining room table, overlooking the winter wonderland that is my yard. Wonderland because I'm wondering how long this crap will last. We've been accosted by Mother Nature to the tune of two feet of snow in the past week, temperatures that make my mother-in-law seem toasty and even Margie, winter loving freak that she is, has the "days 'til spring" clicker set to seconds.

Counter screenshot via:

All of this pleasantness got me to thinking about cabin fever and that led inevitably to the violence that so often grows out of long stretches of nothingness that winter brings.

How many times have you heard a co-worker say, "I'd like to..." when describing a co-worker? Many times we share the thought or think, "that's just Joe blowin' off steam." But then the daily news features the worker at XYZ company that went on a rampage and really did what he said he'd like to do. When does "like to..." become "going to..." or  "just...?" And what can you do if you're there when the straw breaks the camel's back?

I just saw a video from the Los Angeles Sheriff's office that offers some excellent advice if you're there when an active shooter incident begins. The video is graphic but a realistic presentation of several active shooter scenarios and provides a thought-provoking view into these incidents.

Of course, f you find yourself in an active shooter situation, legally possessing a firearm and knowing how to use it is your best defense. If you're like me, your weapon is never out of reach, except...

It's the "except" that makes this video worthwhile for everyone.

Surviving an Active Shooter: What would you do?

This is an excellent reminder of how to survive an active shooter in the workplace, schools, malls- in short, anywhere that might be a target of a spree killer.

The video explains that "making a plan in advance can make all the difference."  By pointing out "the harder you are to see and to hit," the video highlights cover and concealment as the first goal, followed by escaping the danger zone.

The video also covers finding a safe area that can be secured if you can't get to an exit and reminds viewers to help the injured if you can safely do so. A point made in the video is that an emergency bag, including a first aid kit, including gloves and casualty cards should be easily accessible in areas used as secure locations.

Law enforcement's first responsibility is searching for the actor and they likely will not render aid but the EMS personnel will be in after the area is secure. Rendering first aid will likely mean the difference between life and death for some victims while awaiting EMS.

If the shooter is coming for you, the video explains the last resort for the unarmed in an active shooter incident is defense. The video suggests any item that can "disrupt the shooter's ability to see, breathe or control their weapon" be used as a defensive weapon.

Finally, the video reminds the viewer that when you've escaped or stopped the shooter, you should approach law enforcement with your hands visible and don't try to engage law enforcement- even a move to thank or shake the hands of the officers is not a good idea. The responding personnel do not yet know if you are the good guy or the bad guy and it may take a few minutes to sort that out.

I highly recommend this video and suggest you watch it with your friends. If you find yourself in an active shooter incident, this video could save your life.

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