With recent national and world events in mind I sat down and thought about what I would do if I was thrust into a situation where my safety and those around me became dangerous. After a recent attack in what was, up until six months ago my home, I never really thought it could happen to me.
Never in my city. Never in my neighborhood. Never on my street.
My naivety got the best of me when an armed gunman took the lives of Dallas and DART police officers last week in downtown Dallas, Texas. I’ve spent countless hours at a park suspended over a highway in downtown. I’ve spent days and nights in museums blocks away, plenty of money on basketball games in the same area, and my fair share of brunches on patios downtown. This was my home and the home to many friends and family. My best friend lived in a high-rise 2 blocks north up until 3 weeks ago. He was in his office a few blocks away working late, as usual, when gunshots rang out. When word hit my twitter feed I was stunned. In a panic, I sent him a text, “just stay inside”.
Then an even larger cloud of uncertainty came over me. The protesters; I know them. They were my neighbors, my colleagues, and my friends. How do I make sure they are safe? How do they know what to do? This isn’t something they teach you in school. What would I do? What do you do?
While officials say the likelihood of being caught up in an attack is “very, very small”, the public is urged to follow these steps if you should hear gunshots or an explosion in your office, school, residence hall, or in public.
Run to a place of safety but only if you can.
- First consider your route. Is it safe? Will it put you in the line of fire?
- Act quickly and quietly
- Leave your belongings behind
- Insist on others coming with you
Hide if you can’t run somewhere safely.
- When looking for a hiding place, avoid dead-ends and bottlenecks
- Asses weather your hiding place will be substantially protected from gunfire
- If you’ve locked yourself in a room, barricade yourself in and move away from the door
- Stay quiet; do not shout for help
- Turn your phone onto silent and switch off vibrate
Tell the police of the attack.
- If you are able to evacuate get as far away as possible
- If it is safe to do so, try and stop others from entering
- Dial 911 and tell the operator of the location of you and the attacker(s)
- Include descriptions of your surroundings as well as if there are casualties.
- When approached by officers, keep your hands in plain sight at all times.
While this is by no means a catch-all post of what to do in the event of an attack, these steps are proven to have saved lives. You will not know what to do until it happens to you but being as proactive as possible is always a best practice. Sacred Purpose is about keeping our brothers safe and with these steps you can keep yourself, your brothers, and your community safe during a frightening situation.
*Information provided from the National Police Chiefs’ Council in the UK