Flee, Hide, Fight: A Survivalist Guide for Teachers during an Active Shooter

By: Allison Austin Achibane

“POP POP POP”; half-deaf and confused; screams dying out; a putrid smell filling the air. Just like in real life, we were given no warning before the police officer training us fired off fake rounds inside the very small auditorium. Volunteers were pulled onto the stage to play out different scenarios; angry parent with a gun, unseen shooter, and dude with a very big gun. We all learned one important lesson that day, none of us were prepared.

An active shooter is defined by homeland security as, “an individual actively engaged in killing or attempting to kill people in a confined and populated area; in most cases, active shooters use firearms(s) [sic] and there is no pattern or method to their selection of victims” (dhs.gov) As mass shootings are on the rise, education is slowly becoming one of the more dangerous positions. Yet, no one seems to be talking about the danger that teachers face and I don’t just mean the angry parent who doesn’t understand that little Suzy is failing because she didn’t turn in work. So let’s go over the three main things you can do if an active shooter happens to be on your campus.

1. ESCAPE!

If the option is there and you can safely get out do it! Take as many people as you can with you. I know that as a teacher, the last thing you want to do is leave any students behind but you have to get those you can to safety and trust your colleges to help the others. Being outside is in no way putting you out of danger or the action. Keep aware of your surroundings and watch for anyone trying to enter the building. You know that one student who is almost always late. You might be the only thing keeping them from walking unknowingly into a crazed person with a gun. As soon as you are safe, write everything that you saw, heard, even smelled before the adrenaline wears off and you are surrounded by upset parents. This way you can give as much information as possible to the cops when they arrive.

2.Hide

The hide method is the one you will most likely be trained to do. This is where you, the teacher, turn out the lights, lock the door, and put you and your students in a corner. You also usually have some kind of means to alert the outside (the police) whether or not your room is safe/secure. All of this is practiced with a run through that the students take part in just like a fire or tornado drill.

It is important that both the teacher and the student know what to do as adrenaline and fear take hold. Routine is something that scared children need most. This is also the best option for those who are by themselves, can’t get to an exit, and have a decent place to hide.

However, there are many issues with this procedure, and one example of this is the shooting that occurred at Sandy Hook elementary school. The hide method was used here and still 20 students were killed and 6 adults (Smith, 2013). Putting everyone in one small area makes it easier for the active shooter to kill as many as possible.

Another issue is that a large majority of active shooters are students. This means that they have been through the training and know what the procedure is. What is to stop them from hiding in a classroom, forcing the teacher to give the “all clear” sign? This is the method trained by majority of school systems and although it has its issues, it is important that teachers stick to the protocol.

3. Fight!

There is an argument for a new method that is a bit controversial but might be worth bringing to your admins’ attention. In this protocol the teacher and the students fight back.

Throwing books, pens, erasers, whatever they can get their hands on to distract while the teacher or adult goes for the gun. If an active shooter enters your room, this is the best way to go. It is no more risky then cowering in the corner.

This is a more aggressive move but it is gaining in popularity. One instructor of this, Ryan Hoover, feels that if the students and teacher(s) can’t escape, fighting back is the best method for survival. When comparing the two, hiding and fighting, the numbers are undeniably in favor of fight.

For more information on what to do in the presence of an active shooter, please check out Homeland Security’s website.

For more on flee, hide, fight, check out this video.

For more of Ryan Hoover’s fight back method and to see a simulation of hiding verses fighting, click here:

Works Cited

Active Shooter Preparedness. (2016, June 16). Retrieved Septmeber 29, 2016, from Homeland Security: https://www.dhs.gov/active-shooter-preparedness

Orr, T. (2016, March 7). ‘For the Record’: Fighting Back Against a School Shooter. Retrieved September 29, 2016, from The Blaze: http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2016/03/07/for-the-record-fighting-back-against-a-school-shooter/

Smith, M. (2013, November 26). Sandy Hook killer took motive to his grave. Retrieved September 29, 2016, from CNN: http://www.cnn.com/2013/11/25/justice/sandy-hook-shooting-report/

Realtor Safety

Safety Is Priority Number One
Safety Is Priority Number One
Real estate is one of the most hands-on “people” businesses in our economy. Everything from interviews with potential clients, hosting open houses, driving people around town, calling countless people for prospective business, calling other realtors…the list goes on and on. It’s safe to say that the real estate profession is very demanding. One has to always be “on” as public image is everything in the business, and that can be very draining: even for the most extroverted of folks.

It can be very tough to keep one’s wits about oneself day in and day out when driving around town with buyers, attending listing appointments, meeting inspectors, etc. However, in addition to the social stressors and these obligations, there is a very serious side to this very interactive industry. So serious, in fact, that it could be deadly. We constantly see images on television of terrorist attacks and riots across the globe, but danger could literally be sitting in the back seat of a real estate agent’s car.

Though we like to believe in the goodness of all people, and we will likely never have to face potentially dangerous situations that some real estate agents face, it is imperative that safety always be Priority Number One for a real estate agent. When all is said and done, there isn’t an open house or showing that is worth facing serious injury or death. Here are a few tips to remember to help ensure you have a successful and, most importantly, safe real estate career.

1) Trust Your Gut

Cliché, yes, but this common phrase is chock-full of truth. If something doesn’t feel right, there is no shame in saying no, cancelling, or coming up with an alternative. If you show up to an open house and the vibe is just not right, trust your gut and choose the safest back up plan. If a buyer doesn’t give you a good impression, trust your gut and don’t put them in your back seat. It is better to be wrong than to be hurt.

2) Pre-Screen

Real estate is the largest investment many people make in their lives,; in turn, your safety is your most valuable possession. With every single customer you encounter, do your best to get the whole picture. Ask a lot of questions about their lives, their interests, hobbies, families, occupations, likes and dislikes, etc. Get as detailed of a look at their lives as you can. The answers you get will help you tremendously with judging the type of person he or she may be. If – by some chance – you’re still unsure after that, pay for a background check.

3) Use the Buddy System

Well, you may not use a literal buddy “in the flesh,” but always have a point of contact. Whenever you’re going to host an open house, listing appointment, or a showing, let someone at the office know where you’re going. Then, check in when you get there and when you leave. If they don’t hear from you within a reasonable amount of time, they can alert the authorities of your absence. Also, by calling in, you show your clients that you have colleague who aware of where your location. This will make anyone with ill intentions second-guess their choices.
If you want even more security, there’s nothing wrong with inviting a friend or family member to join you at an open house. Strength is always in numbers; plus, extra bodies will make it seem busier and more successful.

4) Follow, Don’t Lead

It has been said that it is rude to show your back to someone; however, in the case of a real estate agent, it’s just downright dangerous. Agents are in the business of visiting empty houses in which they’ve never been with complete strangers. As such, awareness is key to safety. By turning your back on your clients and customers, you are unaware of what is going on behind you. As much as we want to trust that they are friendly people, you can’t take that as a matter of fact. That friendly client or customer might just take that opportunity to subdue you, restrain you, or worse. The last thing you want to hear is the sound of a door shutting behind you and locking.
When entering or exiting any room or house, always follow behind your clients. It may seem rude, but if done gracefully, it can look effortless and completely natural. Simply direct them in the direction they should go, and then follow behind.

5) Don’t Worry: the Police Aren’t Inconvenienced

If your precautions haven’t left you with an easy feeling, go back to #1 and “Trust Your Gut.” Find a way to be safe. If you show up to your open house without the owners present and you have suspicions that the house may not be empty after all, call the police and ask them to do a walk-through. If you are traveling to a remote piece of property outside of cell service, call the police to schedule an officer to go out there at a certain time to make sure you are safe. The police would much rather get these calls than a distress call, or worse: a call to rush to a crime scene.

Safety is your most valuable asset as a real estate agent. Always be aware of your surroundings, get to know your clients and customers, and trust your gut. Be smart, be safe, and ensure that your success isn’t hindered by danger.

By W Andrew Thomas

Women’s Self Defense: Staying Safe in a Dangerous World

How current is your protection training?
How current is your protection training?

Have you ever walked to your car at night alone and felt that tingling fear in your stomach that somebody was watching you?

What would you do if the worst happened and no one was around to help?

The world seems more and more dangerous every day, and there’s no one that’s more true for than women.

The National Assault Hotline reports that 1 out of every 6 American women has been the victim of an attempted or completed assault. And still many women have never sought out lessons on basic self-defense.

Objections

  • Aversion to violence

It’s a natural human trait to want to avoid violence whenever possible.

When you hear the words, “self-defense classes,” most people mistakenly translate that into, “how to beat someone in a fight.”

The truth is “self-defense” doesn’t necessarily mean “Martial Arts.” You might be surprised to learn that the main focus of women’s self-defense training is on avoiding violence, and diffusing potentially dangerous situations.

You won’t be fighting your classmates, so much as learning alongside them. And while there will be demonstrations, your instructor is there to make you feel safe and empowered. You will never be in a situation that you’re not comfortable with.

  • I Can’t Do It

Basic self-defense lessons are designed so that anyone can do them. You can definitely get a good workout in the class, but you don’t have to be in movie star shape to learn basic self-defense. Everyone should know the basics of staying safe.

You also don’t have to be under or over a certain age. Young girls and older women can encounter a dangerous situation just as easily and you don’t have to be able to flip someone over your shoulder to defend yourself.

  • I Live in Safe Area

While one of the best things you can do is to avoid dangerous areas, you likely don’t spend all of your time within five miles of your home. What happens when you have to make an emergency run to the store, or you caught a late movie with friends?

Your town may be generally crime-free, but did you know that 75% of cases of sexual assault are committed by someone the victim knows. And even if you trust your neighbors with your life, will, and wifi password, your town doesn’t have walls that keep strangers out.

Conclusion

What’s holding you back? Don’t end up in a situation where you can’t protect yourself from an attacker.

Learn how to diffuse the situation before it happens, and if you can’t, learn the basic techniques you need to defend yourself and get away.

By Mat Stevens