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 Bullying a part of your child’s school day?

It’s Back to School season and as you relax back into the routine remember to keep a watchful eye on your child’s routine too! Are you missing the signs of bullying? Statistics show that 28% of children in school are victims of bullying which also means bullies exist in similar if not larger numbers.

Studies by the American Academy of Pediatrics reveal that young people with low self-esteem are at greater risk of bullying, but a low-self esteem may also be what urges some to bully as well.

There are two factors at play when bullying is evident.  The bully is usually a victim of his or her own abuse and finds a bit of release when attacking another.  A victim of bullying is usually a weaker individual who is now subjected to emotional damage as a result from bullying.

Bullying varies from verbal abuse to violent acts depending on the circumstances.  All variations of bullying can do irreversible harm.

school-bullying.jpgMental Health Advocates have found a link between bullying and a higher risk of mental health problems during childhood, such as low self-esteem, poor school performance, depression and an increased risk for suicide. But less is known about the long-term psychological health of adults who, as children, were bullies or victims of bullying. When a child is both a bully and bullied by their peers, this is a red flag and can indicate that the youngster has other serious psychiatric problems, and often, these children are at high risk for later adversities in adulthood, including a wide range of mental health problems.

Recognizing, Ending, and repairing the results of Bullying starts at home! 

Is your child a victim of bullying? Here are five key items to help you identify the answer:

  • Visible cuts or bruises
  • Damage to property or loss of property such as school supplies or personal items
  • Chronic illnesses such as stomach aches, headaches, or just feeling sick
  • Behavioral changes such as different eating habits, different sleeping habits, withdrawn behaviors, or lack of interest in favored activities
  • Self Destructive behaviors such as being argumentative, poor school performance in grades or programs, or suicidal thoughts

Is your child a bully? Here are five key items to help you identify the answer:

  • Doesn’t accept responsibility for negative actions
  • Often has new belongings that you did not purchase for him/hershutterstock_262406261-min.jpg
  • Hangs around with a destructive crowd while focusing on popularity or a reputation
  • Gets in trouble a lot at school
  • Is competitive and combative at the same time

 

5 THINGS CAN DO AT HOME TO PREVENT YOUR CHILD FROM
BEING A BULLY OR  A VICTIM OF BULLYING: 

  • Monitor your child’s social media activity, google searches and online activities. The internet is a great source of information not only for a person but also about a person based on their internet habits.  Is your child researching ways to harm others or defend his/her self?  Is your child making fun of others on social media or being made fun of on his/her social media account? If you monitor your child’s internet activity as well as set limitations you can prevent harm not only in regards to bullying but multiple other threats that are in the cyber world. (To learn more about technology safety and your child be sure to check out Project Harmony).
  • Communicate with your child on a regular basis! Keeping the door open to communication is the most valuable thing you can do for your child during their school years as this is the time they develop their social skills and general life skills. Keeping the door open means to listen without judgement and advise without bias. Sometimes it’s hard to be a parent and a friend, but when you’re not able to balance the two you could be seen as the enemy and it’s a fine line.  Talking with your children on their level can not only protect them from bullying, but also from being a victim of numerous threats out there for young, impressionable children.
  • Ask the right questions…carefully. Ask your children if they’ve ever witnessed bullying, how they felt about it and what they did if they saw it. Ask if they’ve ever been bullied or bullied someone and what the result was.  Choose your responses carefully.  Sometimes a victim is afraid to report bullying and telling them they have to will not help. Also, breaking their trust by reporting it without their permission could harm your relationship.  Never tell your child to fight back or choose revenge.  If you learn your child is a bully, find out why.  Is it their peers influencing the behavior? Did something happen at home to influence this behavior? Remember, also, there is therapy available for children that can help with the problems you may discover and aren’t sure how to resolve.  Also, schools have professional counselors on staff that are willing to meet with you and your child privately to resolve these types of situations so take advantage of that! (stopbullying.gov is a great resource on how to talk with your child about bullying and other valuable info on the topic.)
  • Remember that your home and family life is where it all begins! Be sure you are providing a quality way of life for your child(ren) to the best of your ability. Leben in der Familiep.jpgMany households have single parents trying to hold it all together, or even with two parents it can be hard in modern society to make time for your children when so much other responsibility is baring down on you to be able to provide for them.  It’s easy to lose focus on what makes quality family time when you are in a situation that brings your work home with you or many other issues that can consume most of your time.  Life is hard enough but being a parent is no small challenge, especially in this day and age. Do what you must to schedule time with your child(ren) daily and if there is more time available on weekends, use it wisely.  Pay attention to homework and school activities.  Be as involved as you possibly can in your child’s lives. (Families for Life offers a great list of tips to help you build a better family life in a hectic world – click here!)

Close Range Safety Training Academy recognizes and respects the importance of children and their future.  We urge you to join us.  For more tips about this important topic, visit: www.kidpower.org.  For more health and safety tips, please be sure to follow our blog.

Campus Safety Tips + U.S. School Safety Rankings

Campus Safety

Safety should be a great concern for college students and parents. The level of campus security presence, emergency protocols, campus and local crime rates, as well as substance and alcohol use are important factors to consider when choosing a school.

Be sure to read our top 10 school safety ranking lists following these important tips to stay safe while on campus…

  1. Speak up if something looks or feels wrong. If someone looks suspicious, report it to campus security and/or a RA. If someone looks in distress, ask if they are ok. Many times incident are avoided because someone steps up and takes notice.
  2. Always avoid the use of drugs and never accept open drinks from anyone. Tampered drinks and overdoses are more common in college communities.
  3. Inform your family or friends of your plans. Let them know, at least a general idea, of where you’re going and what your plans are. That way if you don’t check in or make it home, they will know what to do and that is is important to get help.
  4. Know the locations of the emergency blue-light phones on your campus. These phones connect you directly to campus security.
  5. Stay aware and alert of your surroundings. Always be mindful of people who look suspicious, out of place, or who are hanging around poorly lit areas with little traffic or no one around. Early detection can be key in avoiding becoming a victim of a crime.
  6. Considered getting a safety app on your phone. These apps can automatically notify the police in the event of an emergency.
  7. Learn self-defense. Take a class, sometimes offered at no or low cost on campuses, to learn how to best disable and escape a would-be attacker.
  8. Never accept rides from strangers or casual acquaintances. Period. Use a service like Lyft or Uber instead.

Safest U.S. College Towns:

  1. Brookings, South Dakota
  2. Charleston, Illinois
  3. Rexburg, Idaho
  4. Elon, North Carolina
  5. Canyon, Texas
  6. Durham, New Hampshire
  7. Highland Heights, Kentucky
  8. Amherst, Massachusetts
  9. Princeton, New Jersey
  10. Pullman, Washington

U.S. Colleges (4 year schools) with the Highest Crime Rates:

  1. Benedict College, Columbia, South Carolina
  2. Inter American University of Puerto Rico, Barranquitas, Puerto Rico
  3. Central Sate University, Wilburton, Ohio
  4. Art Institute of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
  5. Gallaudet University, Washington D. C.
  6. Cheyney University of Pennsylvania, Cheyney, Pennsylvania
  7. Shaw University, Raleigh, North Carolina
  8. Swarthmore College, Swarthmore, Pennsylvania
  9. St. Augustines University, Raleigh, North Carolina
  10. Reed College, Portland, Oregon

Best campus Security – U.S. Colleges

  1. Columbus State Community College, Ohio
  2. East Central University, Oklahoma
  3. Erskine College, South Carolina
  4. Kansas Sate University, Kansas
  5. Louisiana Sate University – Eunice, Louisiana
  6. Arkansas State University, Arkansas
  7. Marshall University, West Virginia
  8. Northeast Sate Community College, Tennessee
  9. Oakton Community College, Illinois

Safest U.S. Colleges 

  1. Arkansas State University, Arkansas
  2. Sheridan College, Wyoming
  3. Lake Land College, Illinois
  4. Southern University @ New Orleans, Louisiana
  5. Erskine College, South Carolina
  6. Central Texas College, Texas
  7. Southern Plains College, Texas
  8. Virginia Western Community College, Virginia
  9. Northeast State Community College, Tennessee
  10. Delgado Community College, Louisiana