Facing a Mass Shooting and the keys to your safety

As of November 5th, the United States has suffered 307 mass shooting incidents in 2017.  Which, sadly, translates to nearly 1 mass shooting per day.  In 2016, the total number of mass shootings in the US was 483.

While there is not an official definition of what makes a shooting become a mass shooting, The F.B.I. defines a “mass killing” as the killing of three or more people in a public place but also defines a “mass murderer” as someone who has killed four or more people in the same location.

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As we mourn the wounds our country is facing, we must also find our own courage and strength to not live in fear and allow these incidents to harm our quality of life. While the most obvious way to avoid a mass shooting is to avoid going to crowded or popular events that would force us to live in our own prisons and even still not fully protect us from the possibility of workplace incidents.

Many Americans are fighting for stricter gun laws or changes within our government to better our chances at safety.  If you feel driven to join this fight, we encourage you to check out this simple guide on ways you can reach out to the government and demand change!

As we move toward the peek season of travel, special events, and larger crowds in public places we must not allow fear to cripple us, but we must also learn how to be prepared for danger.

Situational awareness is a key element to your safety at any time and any place.  This will not just help you detect the possibility of a mass shooting, but also help you identify stalkers and other threats.  Most of us aren’t even clear on just what situational awareness is, but to speak in a language we all understand it is much like what you see the professionals doing in spy films or actions films.  Think James Bond.  How was he always so prepared? Situational awareness is the answer.  (For tips on developing your situational awareness, check out this blog.)

As a business that focuses on security and safety, Close Range Safety Training Academy wants to share with you some tips that could save your life should you ever be faced with a mass shooting situation:

  • As you will learn from developing situational awareness, knowing the exits of your location is critical at all times.  Many emergency situations require your need to make a fast exit so this is key any time you go somewhere.  Locate the normal exits and emergency exists as soon as you arrive to an unfamiliar place. 
  • When terror begins – take action! Do not take a moment to devise a plan.  Every second counts. The first 5 seconds of a mass shooting are preeminent in your chances of avoiding injury.  If you have studied these tips below and and have familiarized yourself with the exits, you can do this!
  • RUN! Fear can be paralyzing, but do not allow that! Muster all of your courage in an instant and run for it! A moving target is harder to hit and a crowd running creates mass confusion for the shooter so take everyone you can with you and just run for the nearest exit out of the shooter’s range.
    If your shoes are slowing you down, take them off quickly and keep running.
    Do not stagger your run or attempt any tricks that you think will help you.  Reality is, your best bet is a direct dart to the easiest exit.
    If there are obstacles, such as columns, you can dart behind on your run and only if you feel this is necessary than use them to your advantage but just do your best to move quickly and out of range.
  • Do not worry about your belongings.  Run immediately means just that and your purse or phone are unimportant.  Focus on your safety and nothing more.  Every second counts.
  • If you can’t run, HIDE! If there is no way to escape the crisis, find a good hidingSofiaHulten3.jpg place but don’t get yourself trapped.
    If you run into a room, close and lock the door and blockade that door with any furniture you can move in front of it.  Turn off the lights so the room appears vacant.
    If there is a window you can escape from, do your best to do so.  If you cannot escape from the window, try to signal to people outside for help.  Do not fear jumping from a window if it is a second story or lower.  The injuries of cuts, bruises and possibly broken bones is still better than the alternative.
    If you cannot escape to a close room, find ways to hide behind furniture or in a closet.
    Remember that interior walls generally can not withstand bullets so when hiding also stay close to the ground.
  • Find cover when there’s no escaping. Much like you learned in a tornado or earthquake drill in school, find heavy furniture or equipment to hide behind, under or inside of.  Stay close to the ground and do whatever you can to take cover, but do not trap yourself – make sure you are able to dart from this spot easily if you can do so should the shooter be distracted for any reason.
  • Be as quiet as possible.  If you have your cell phone, silence it. If you are in a group whisper and move softly.  Prevent making noise that draws attention to you as best as you possibly can.
    If there is equipment in the room that makes noise such as printers, radios or anything that makes noise – turn them off!
    If you are with children do your best to comfort them while making clear to them that silence is key.
    Silence can be hard, but it is of the utmost importance.
  • Call 9-1-1 once you’re in a safe space. If at all possible call 9-1-1 from a land line if you are still in the building where the shooting is taking place.  Calling from a land line enables their system to track you faster than calling from a cell phone, but if you cannot use a land line then use a cell phone.
  • Lie down and play dead. If you know there’s no escape and nowhere to hide or a way to defend yourself, fall to the floor and pretend your are dead. This has saved many lives in such attacks.
  • Fight when there’s no alternative. Focus on finding weapons of any sort to help you fight.  In an office, grab the scissors or a stapler or anything you can use to stab, pack a stronger punch or hurl at the shooter’s head. If people are with you, have everyone grab items they can use. The more people fighting, the better the chances of winning the fight.
    Channel your survival instinct and use your adrenaline rush to your advantage.
    Most people who are shot can survive a gunshot, especially if you are a moving target and do not allow the shooter to take good aim at you.
    When there’s no alternative, fighting is your best chance for survival.
    Aim at the shooters head when you are throwing objects toward him/her.
    Create havoc by throwing as much as you can while taking shelter between throws.  Do whatever it takes to slow the shooter down, cripple him/her and possibly cause them to drop the gun.
    If you are with others, determine you are fighting as a group and go for it.
  • When law enforcement arrives do not run toward them. Usually the first group of law enforcement that arrives on a shooting scene is there to locate and deal with the shooter and not the victims. Do not leave your hiding spot and do not get in their way.
    hqdefault.jpgWhen you see that you can move in police presence, move slowly with your arms in the air and your fingers spread to show you are not a threat.  Keep this position until they are clear you are not a threat.
    Move in the direction where the police made entry. Do not stop to speak to them.  In fact, if it is safe to do so, run in that direction while keeping your arms raised.
    Obey police instructions and do so without delay or questions.
    Wait for them to question you and at that time provide the best, detailed statement you can.

On average, a mass shooting incident lasts a maximum of 10 minutes.  Keep your composure, keep your wits about you, and stay focused on this advice and how you can apply it to your situation.

We hope that you will never have to face this terror nor anyone you love, but as a team that puts safety first we want you to do the same.  If you feel this information was helpful, please share it with your loved ones.  If you have a suggestion or something to add, please comment. Together we can do this and save a lives!

 

 

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Is An A.E.D. Necessary at My Business?

The answer is YES! And here’s why:

An automated external defibrillator (AED) is a lightweight, portable device that delivers an electric shock through the chest to the heart. The shock can stop an irregular heart rhythm and allow a normal rhythm to resume following sudden cardiac arrest (an abrupt loss of heart function). 

The good news is that cardiac arrest is reversible in most victims if it’s treated quickly! The development of the AED, which automatically analyzes a heart rhythm and prompts the user to deliver a shock when necessary, enabled the shocks to be given by rescuers who aren’t medical professionals making  it possible for more people to respond to a medical emergency where defibrillation is required.  

Unfortunately, anyone can experience a heart attack and it can happen anywhere at any time. Often you see headlines where lives were saved at restaurants, sporting events, social galas, churches, gyms, airports and much more by using an AED. Without an AED on site, the only thing bystanders can do is call for help and hope it arrives in time.

OnSite_wAccessories1.jpgHaving an AED on site is the first step toward first response rather than anticipating timely help to save a life. But without proper training, an AED is rendered useless.

Keeping your AED in an easily accessible location is key, but training multiple people on how to use it is critical!

Let’s Review Some Common Questions About AEDs

Are AEDs safe to use? Yes, by anyone who’s been trained to operate them. Studies have shown that 90 percent of the time AEDs are able to detect a rhythm that should be defibrillated. And 95 percent of the time they are able to recommend NOT shocking when the computer shows defibrillation is not indicated.

How does an AED work? There’s a built-in computer that checks a victim’s heart rhythm through adhesive electrodes. The computer calculates whether defibrillation is needed. If it is, a recorded voice tells the rescuer to press the shock button on the AED. This shock momentarily stuns the heart and stops all activity. It gives the heart the chance to resume beating effectively. Instructions guide the trained user through the process.

If an AED instructs you through the process, why is training necessary? People with first aid training are able to recognize wether or not an AED is actually needed.  Users should be trained in CPR and AED use.  Training increases the confidence of responders, eliminating the fear that prevents others to act. Knowledge of how to apply this life-saving equipment to a person is essential.  Though the AED does provide basic instructions and guidance throughout the process, certified training makes a huge difference in the outcome of survival for the victim.

How easy is training and how can I get it? The average AED/CPR and First Aid Training is about 5 hours in length and very simple. There are various training courses available which can range from simply AED & CPR Training to training that includes these as well as pediatric care and first aid. There are several ways to locate training, including visiting the American Red Cross’s website, The American Heart Association’s website, or if you are in the Los Angeles, CA area you can visit our website to request AMRC Certified AED/CPR training here!

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Remember: Cardiac arrest knows no age, sex or weight limits and can occur at any time to anyone. Having an AEDs can greatly increase survival rates and without using an AED the clock is ticking for a person’s survival. AEDs are worth investing in and you never know if one day you may need one to save a life or for someone to possibly save yours.

Stay safe, healthy and in the know by following our blog!

What is Situational Awareness and Why Should I Practice it?

Situational Awareness is the ability to identify, process, and comprehend the critical elements of information about what is happening around you.

You may think the elements around you are not critical, but at any moment they could become meaningful to the situation at hand if things turn in a negative direction.  As a comparison, think about driving and how quickly accidents occur – which is why defensive driving is so important. Situational Awareness is much like defensive driving but applied to your everyday life.

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None of us want to think about the possibility of a hostage situation when we go to the bank to cash our check or a gunman opening fire at the grocery store, but these things happen and practicing situational awareness is a key element to keeping you safe in dangerous situations.

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Here are 5 Steps to practicing situational awareness in your day to day life:

OBSERVE – What we view is what we typically think of when we think of observation yet what our mind sees may not always be accurate.  Our vision does not work in the way a camera does when a photo captures every element.  Our vision, instead, only sees what is of interest or in action.  For example, if you are at a baseball game you are only viewing the players in action even though the people around you are all doing things as well.  2 rows in front of you a guy may pick – pocket the gentlemen in front of him right before your eyes but at the same time as a historic home run that you were focused on. For this reason, true observation takes practice! 

Put yourself in a position for optimal observation. So whenever you enter an environment, put yourself in a position that will allow you to see as much as you can without obstructions. Locate all exit possibilities.  Take a mental note of the people around you to the best of your ability.  Try to memorize their sex, race, attire, build, and behaviors as well as the quantity of people (the brunette in the pink dress is busy on her phone, the bald guy third in line in a black hoodie looks antsy, there were about 10 people in line with me). Take a mental note in the parking lot to the best of your ability, for example: the parking lot was about 50% full, the car parked to my left was a black van with a NV license plate and to my right was a red hatchback with a CA license plate and there was a yellow truck parked at the loading dock running without a driver.  The take away point in observing is to try to absorb as much as possible that could be relevant to your situation – people, vehicles, exits, signs, issues, etc.

LISTEN – Our hearing is attuned to our surroundings and functions as our brain’s first response system by notifying us of things to pay attention to and fundamentally shaping our perception of what’s happening around us. The quickness and sharpness of our hearing evolved from its survival advantage. (Think about when you are in darkness, what senses do you rely on first: Hearing, feeling and smelling) But just like with sight, your ears can be listening to tons of sounds without your brain really registering them.  You can tune into more sounds than you usually hear by concentrating and trying to distinguish and pull out noises you’re usually “ear-blind” to.

Practice training your hearing by closing your eyes to isolate your senses to sounds and play an active video you are not familiar with.  Make a mental note of the sounds you heard while listening.  Open your eyes and note all of the sounds you heard and try to note what you believe was happening then watch the video to determine how well you did.  Keep practicing until you realize you have picked up all of the sounds. When you learn to isolate your senses, your senses become more in tune.

SMELL – In comparison to our senses, smell doesn’t get much attention but when you think of wild animals this sense is usually the key to their survival.  Granted we do not rely on smell to survive the way animals in the wild do, we have likely all encountered moments that our sense of smell may have saved us from danger – think of smelling smoke or a gas leak for example. As you know, your sense of smell has a memory.  You automatically recognize the scents of your favorite meals as well as fire.  These key memories can aid you in times of trouble.  When you smell something that alerts you, trust that instinct! 

TOUCH – This is the last sense required for situational awareness and truly only useful after you’ve observed and are suddenly in the dark or find yourself in the dark. So, when you are observing take note of textures and surfaces – particularly ones that could lead you to the exit.  For instance, if the floor changes from tile to carpet before the exit or if there is a glass top table near the exit.  Use these memories to aid you in feeling your way around should you find yourself in the same location but in darkness at any point. 

RECOGNIZE THE SIGNS – Once you’ve followed the first 4 steps it’s time to ask yourself some questions; What is going on? What is the general atmosphere or mood surrounding me? Does everything seem to be the natural activity and scenery for this place? Are people conducting themselves normally or is someone standing out?  

Some key behavioral signs to recognize are:

  • Most people are walking with purpose, have keys in their hands, are carrying items to and from somewhere. When none of that is going on, question the person’s presence and actions.
  • Look for people shifting their vision around the room or area. They could be determining target value, looking for police or anyone who might intervene, CCTV cameras and where their escape route is.
  • Watch for unnatural movements such as hidden hands or quick motions that appear unusual such as reaching behind one’s back, into their book, into their waist band etc.
  • Recognize predatory movements or actions used to gain a dominant position. For instance, if two people approach you apparently to ask you where something is and one steps to your side that’s a predatory move. If someone hovers at your 4-8 o’clock relative to you, question it. Be sensitive to any positioning that makes you feel vulnerable. If you’re walking and someone impedes your movement, take a quick step back to keep the person in sight and check your surroundings.

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Situational awareness is a mindset that you have to purposefully harvest. The goal is to reach the point that it’s a natural behavior. To get to that point, you have to practice it regularly. Starting today, remind yourself to look for entry/exit points whenever you enter a new building. Begin observing people and settings in public places and asking yourself the important questions for recognizing what stands out. Also, start creating action plans on what you would do if you see a possible threat. Don’t be paranoid, just conscious.

Practicing situational awareness goes a long way in keeping you from appearing like or becoming an easy target. So, pay attention, stay alert and be prepared!

To learn more about Situational Awareness, check out professional situational awareness trainer Patrick Van Horne’s blog here: http://www.cp-journal.com/blog/ 

Give the Gift of Safety! Smart & Secure Stocking Stuffers That Show You Care

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Here’s our list of the top 10 gift ideas to
keep your loved ones prepared for emergency situations:

  1. First Aid Kit — It’s always smart to keep a First Aid Kit in your vehicle as well as your home. You can build the kit yourself and put it in a decorative, personalized container as a gift or you can buy a First Aid Kit. Be sure the kit contains the following important items:
    An assortment of band-aids, a compress, adhesive cloth tape, gause, antibiotic ointment, hydrocortisone ointment, Asprin, Ibuprophen, Scissors, splint, Ace bandage Wrap, Antiseptic wipes, Thermometer, Flashlight, and a first aid manual.
  2. Vehicle Emergency Kit – Like the first aid kit, you can build one yourself as a gift or purchase a pre-made kit. Many pre-made kits include a first aid kit already! Be sure your vehicle safety kit has:
    a jump starter, a portable air compressor to air tires, a car escape tool set, a lantern, reflective road flags or triangles
    and a fire extinguisher.
  3. Fire Extinguisher – Every home and car should have a small Fire Extinguisher in case of emergency. Kitchen fires are more common than we realize and most insurance companies will discount home insurance policies for homeowners equipped with protection and prevention items such as extinguishers and smoke detectors. The National Fire Protection Agency reported an average of 31 vehicle fires on the road per hour and an average of one death per day and 12 severe injuries as a result.
  4. Computer Protection Programs — Antivirus or anti-virus software (often abbreviated as AV), sometimes known as anti-malware software, is computer software used to prevent, detect and remove malicious software. Learn what the best programs available are here!
  5. Identity Theft Protection Services — Identity theft occurs when someone uses one’s personal identifying information, without authorization, in order to perpetrate fraud or other offenses, such as obtaining loans, services or credit. To reduce that risk Identity Theft Protection Services are available.  Learn what the best services available are here!
  6. Security Camera – Depending on your loved one’s need, a security camera is a great way to add a watchful eye to their home. Security cameras often deter crime when spotted by criminals.  Choosing the right camera and system relies on several factors so we suggest you read this article before purchasing.
  7. Medical Alert System – This is really a necessity for anyone you love who lives alone but especially for an elderly or ill loved one who lives alone. Once again, depending on your loved one’s needs or capabilities, you will need to choose the best system suited for him or her.  Here is a comprehensive guide of what to look for when shopping Medical Alert Systems.
  8. Multi-Purpose Flashlight – A flashlight is always handy, but one with additional options is even better. Today you can get rechargeable, bright flashlights with other useful tools included such as USB ports, a compass, a knife, a emergency signal and more.
  9. Weather and Hazard Alert Radio — These hazard specific radios work only with a nationwide network of radio stations broadcasting continuous weather information directly from the nearest National Weather Service office. NWR (Working with the Federal Communication Commission’s Emergency Alert System) broadcasts official Weather Service warnings, watches, forecasts and other hazard information 24 hours a day, 7 days a week making it your single source for comprehensive weather and emergency information. In conjunction with Federal, State, and Local Emergency Managers and other public officials, NWR also broadcasts warning and post-event information for all types of hazards – including natural (such as earthquakes or avalanches), environmental (such as chemical releases or oil spills), and public safety (such as AMBER alerts or 911 Telephone outages).
  10. Safety Training Classes — You can buy your loved ones gift certificates for important classes to train in CPR, Gun Safety and more! Visit our website to learn what classes we have available to equip our students with important knowledge on how to stay safe and prepared to handle dangerous situations.

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We wish you and your loved ones a Safe and Happy Holiday Season and a Wonderful New Year!