Posts Tagged ‘active shooter’

Off to College? What’s in your survival kit?

Thursday, July 21st, 2016

Pretty exciting, isn’t it? New freedom, new friends, new food (!).

And, new dangers.

Survival kit for collegeWe can’t deal here with all the social issues on campus. But there are some things you can do to make your life away at school a bit safer and more secure. Take the time to check these out.

1-Be Ready For An Active Shooter on Campus

The news has been full of shooter incidents lately, so perhaps you’ve spent time talking about what YOU would do in that situation. But maybe you haven’t.

People most at risk are – OBLIVIOUS!

  • Walking around with their eyes glued to their cell phones.
  • Chatting or goofing off with friends and not paying attention to their surroundings.
  • Half asleep, waiting for somebody else to tell them what to do.

Time to change those habits!

Here’s a video put out by the University of Alberta that is pretty effective at reminding you what to do in case you hear what sounds like gunfire. The best stuff comes after the 2 minute intro.

Action item: Take 8 minutes right now and watch this video.

And then consider these actions for when you get to campus:

2-Secure Your Dorm Room or Apartment

Let’s assume that any room you are sleeping in has normal locks, and that you use them. However, if you want to be more secure – and particularly if you have been notified of danger on campus – you want to be sure you are extra safe inside.

Depending on the construction of the door, here are three things to consider.

= = > Barricade the door.

Somebody dangerous threatening you? The classic chair under the door handle really DOES work, as long as the angles are right. In an office setting, though, you may not find the stiff chair you’re looking for. So, in an emergency, don’t hesitate to pull a HEAVY piece of furniture (table, copy machine) in front of the door. Add a second heavy piece behind it.

= = > Disable the mechanism.

Keep door from openingThe working of a typical commercial door hinge may be defeated by use of a belt. Tighten it down to prevent the door from opening, as shown by Bill Stanton, safety expert.

= = > Get a door wedge.

In your bedroom or dorm room, a simple investment in a rubber door stop may be all you’ll need. (This one looks as though it will work on any surface.) Click on the image for details.

Keep intruders from coming in through a balcony with the help of a sliding glass door bar – you can place it in the track of the door, or, if you’ve bought one for that purpose, lock it across the center of the door. Obviously, a determined intruder can break a glass door if he or she has the tool to break it with.

3-Be Prepared For Evacuation or An Extended Lockdown

It’s far more likely that your college stay could be impacted by something less dramatic than an active shooter. But it might be equally serious – like a storm, flood, electrical outage, or even some sort of disease outbreak.

Be ready to respond to a call to shelter in place or to evacuate by having your own survival kit. Figure you need to take care of yourself for at least 72 hours – and remember, you will have no access to electricity, water or food. Or a toilet.

Stuff your kit (use a backpack) and have it handy so you can grab it at a moment’s notice.

What should be in your kit?

Basic Emergency Supply Checklist

  1. Water – 1 gallon per day. (Tough to fit in a small backpack, admittedly!)
  2. First Aid Kit with fresh supplies.
  3. Food – Canned or dried foods that you like and that don’t require cooking.
  4. Clothing – A set of warm, comfortable clothing. Extra sunglasses, glasses or contact lenses.
  5. Medicine – At least a two weeks supply of any prescription medicines.
  6. Sanitation – Garbage bags, including small, compactor-strength bags for waste. Sanitary supplies. Toilet paper, baby wipes, paper towels.
  7. Flashlights, emergency radio that operates with batteries, solar or by hand crank – NO CANDLES!
  8. Car – Always ready with half tank of gas.
  9. Cash – No electricity = no ATM, no credit card.
  10. Telephone numbers – Write on paper. Your cell phone and computer will run out of battery unless you have a solar charger.

You should be able to collect just about everything on this list right at home, before you leave for school. There’s one possible exception — the emergency radio.

Here’s a link to Amazon that will get you one of the best ones we’ve found. It operates using AA batteries, its own solar panel, or you can crank it for power. You can even charge it from your computer. Click on the image for details. (If you buy through Amazon we may get a small commission. It won’t impact what you pay.)

OK, we know you have put in a lot of effort to get to where you are. Don’t overlook some of these common-sense preparations that will KEEP you at school just the way you have planned.

Best of luck,

Virginia Nicols
Your Emergency Plan Guide Team


P.S. Please share this article with friends. It’s possible they won’t have thought of all these things, either!



More Live Shooter or Terrorist Attacks?

Thursday, August 27th, 2015

When statistics show an increase in just about anything, we always have to question whether the numbers are higher because they truly are, or because reporting has gotten better.

In the case of live shooter or terrorist attacks, it seems that both are at play. That is, there are more incidents. And the reporting, almost instantaneous, is now “enhanced” by graphic video taken by security cameras or by people at the scene and shown over and over again on television and other media.

Here at Emergency Plan Guide, we can’t ignore this trend. In fact, the U.S. Department of Justice’s 2013 study clearly shows it.

Active Shooter EventsAccording to this FBI study, in 2000-2013 there was one live shooter event every three weeks.

How many incidents need to be added to this chart for 2014 and so far in 2015??

Special Report: Live Shooter and Terrorist Attacks

Emergency Plan Guide Co-Author Joe Krueger has written a special report on this topic. Part One, published today, is entitled:

“What are the chances of you being involved?”

Part Two will be appearing in a week or so. It will focus on Workplace Violence. With over 2 million incidents a year, this is something that many more of us run the chance of being involved in.

But that’s next week. While we wait for Part Two, please take the time to read Part One of the Special Report.

It starts with some observations about the recent heroic actions taken by the Americans on the train headed to Paris.

They were certainly inspiring, but before you think that they could easily be replicated, read Joe’s perspective on the event. (You may not realize that he was trained in counter-terrorism, and although it hasn’t been his career, that’s not information or sensitivity that you lose.)

What can you do to protect yourself?

As always, Emergency Plan Guide is looking for sensible, do-able actions we can all take to improve our chances of surviving a disaster, whether natural or man-made.

We do not advocate arming more citizens; the thought of having untrained, aggressive or worse, terrified, gun-toters anywhere near us is repugnant.

But we do believe that taking time to mentally prepare before anything happens will give you a much better chance of making the right snap decision if it becomes necessary.

To that end, the report recommends two inexpensive books that we think make sense for our readers.

Head over to Joe’s report and read it. Here’s the link again: Special Report: Live Shooter and Terrorist Attacks


Your Emergency Plan Guide Team




Active Shooter Event at Your Business

Thursday, October 30th, 2014

What are the chances?

A little over two years ago I wrote for the first time about “active shooter events.”  Yesterday I saw in a recent FBI report such events have doubled in the past seven years.

And more than 2/3 of them take place at businesses or schools.

Do you work, or do you know people who work in office settings? Are you a student, or do you know students?

If so, do they know what to do if they suddenly find themselves in the midst of a live shooter event, or even hear shots?

Over in five minutes or less.

Run Hid Fight, Emergency Plan

Link to this video below.

Two thirds of active shooter events are over in less than 5 minutes, and one-third are over in less than 2 minutes.

This means If you find yourself in such an event, you have to make QUICK decisions.

Freezing or waffling or screaming are NOT good responses, and in fact may get you killed!

The City of Houston, with the assistance of a Homeland Security Grant, created a training video that is really worth watching. We saw it first at city hall, shown and discussed by our local police department.

The video seems to have become somewhat of a standard for how to respond – and my recommendation today is that you make sure your co-workers have seen it.

The Standard — Run, Hide, Fight: Surviving an active shooter event

 Run, Hide, Fight shows a simulated event taking place in an office setting.  The whole video runs only 6 minutes.

 CAUTION: Although the action is simulated, it contains some intense scenes.  Prepare your audience before showing it.

You can view the video on YouTube at:

The FBI report mentioned above has not gone unchallenged. Criminologist James Alan Fox at Northeastern University in Boston points to the fact that there is no official tracking mechanism for active shooting and mass shooting events. And USA Today’s separate report showed different totals based on their own news sources.

For this Advisory, it doesn’t really matter whether the FBI’s definitions or totals correspond to USA Today’s. What is important is to know how to respond  or even prevent such an event.

Can such events be prevented?

Of course, prevention would be the most desirable option. As someone in a work situation, here are some statistics from the 64 incidents documented by the FBI that should give you pause for thought:

  • All but six of the shooters were male, nearly always acting alone.
  • In about 10% of the incidents, male shooters targeted current and former wives and girlfriends.
  • Other family members were targeted almost as often.
  • Almost all of the shooters had a “real or perceived, deeply held personal grievance.”
  • Shooters were inspired by and copied other attacks.

Are there warnings?

As we have learned, many – although certainly not all – shooters have been identified by family, fellow students or co-workers as exhibiting disturbing behavior well before they go on their killing spree. Even psychologists or other professionals have known of these people’s troubles.

Unfortunately, most people do not say anything for fear of civil lawsuits or for fear of being branded alarmists.

Take a look at your own school or workplace. Are you all watching out for fellow students or co-workers?  Are you aware of some of the most common triggers for violence, such as divorce, financial problems, or other legal issues? Do you have someone to whom you can report unusual or threatening behavior without fear of reprisal?

You may not be able to stop a shooter event. However, you may be able to save lives by making sure everyone knows the survival principles illustrated in Run, Hide, Fight.

The principles aren’t difficult, but having them top of mind could make all the difference.

Share the video!

We are planning to show the video in two weeks as part of our regular neighborhood emergency planning meeting. Some of the audience members will be very senior citizens; it will be interesting to see how they react.  I’ll report on how the showing goes!

And if you show it to your CERT team or your co-workers or classmates, let us know what questions it brings up.  We want to share every good idea we can. Here’s the link to the video again,


Your Emergency Plan Guide Team

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