Hearing the horrific first-hand accounts at Orlando’s two heart breaking shooting incidents, have caused me to ask myself would my teenagers (even myself) know what to do.
No matter who you are and where you live, there are going to be times when you and your family are part of a target-rich environment. It may seem extreme to have to think of these things, but that’s what we call the “New Normal”.
As parents have taught and practiced with our children-what to do if the house is on fire, stranger danger, how to call 9-1-1, and how to give basic first aid and CPR. I never even imagined I would have to have “THAT” talk – What to do if you are in the crosshairs of a gunnman’s sight.
As a family, we attend concerts that feature up-and-coming music artists and Christians singers, staying afterwards for autographs. So, the shooting at the Plaza with Chrisitina Grimmie , hit my teens to close to home.
What should we know and teach our children? After reading Homeland Security recommendations and talking with a law-enforcement friend, here is what we are teaching our teenagers.
Begin with AWARENESS
To raise the chances of survival, there needs to be a plan. Those few seconds where your brain jumps into action because you know what to do, could be what saves your life. Verses scrambling in the mist of chaos and terror.
We talk to our children about being AWARE of their surroundings. Today everyone is immersed in their smartphones and few are “situationally aware”, which make as easy targets for several different scenarios including an active shooter.
Look around and take quick assessment of the environment.
- Exits – Just like on a plane, know where the exits are located. What is the closet exit to your location? Remember the objective is to get out.
- Look around – Be aware of who is around you. Is someone acting strangely, maybe uncomfortable, or extremely nervous. It isn’t rude to quietly move away. Do you see an odd bag or package that is out of place? Move away.
- That Gut feeling – A lot of times there is that “gut feeling” telling you something isn’t right. Teach your children how to be aware of it and to react to it.
Run, Hide, Fight
Just like “Stop, Drop, Roll” when your on fire, “Run, Hide, Fight” will help if you find yourself in a shooting event.
Run – Most people will hide as their first course of action. You should run away from the direction of gunfire as soon as you hear it, leaving through those exits you’ve been mentally marking.
One thing I have heard over and over from the Pulse Club shooting is that they thought the gun shots sounded like part of the music. They didn’t run, because they didn’t know. Do you know what a gun shot sounds like? It doesn’t sound like fireworks. If you don’t know what the sound is, you wont know how to react.
Hide – If you can’t run to an exit, get out of the shooter’s line of sight. Find cover, it means that you are both hidden and protected from projectiles. A table in the room with the shooter isn’t going to be enough. Try to get to another room or closet with the doors locked or barricaded.
Fight – For a child/teenager, this is not recommended, but they should have some self-defense knowledge from a certified instructor. There are self-defense moves, that even a child could learn, that can be used in fighting off strangers.
All of this is hard to talk about, but by bring awareness and knowing how to react could save lives. Take the time to talk through this with your family. My children say they know they would be petrified if they were in this situation, but feel better equipped on how to handle it.
Resources: Homeland Security Active Shooter Pocket Card