In the wake of the recent terrorist attacks in Paris, many of us have questions about how something so devastating could happen and what if it happened closer to home.
Paris on Alert
On Sunday night, a peaceful candlelight vigil in Paris is interrupted by the startling sound of firecrackers that were mistaken for gunfire. Hundreds of mourners sprint off in all directions, tripping over flowers and candles to get away. They’re on high alert these days and any unfamiliar noise can set off a frenzy of fear. However, as weeks pass by, so will the hypersensitivity, and most of us around the world will return to being oblivious to the possibility of terrorism in our neighborhoods.
During our week-long ‘Don’t Be A Victim’series, we focused on two important skills: mindset and situational awareness. You need both to survive any threat whether it’s a robbery or a terrorist attack. Developing situational awareness can be taught using methods like “Kim’s Game.” The are a number of variations, but the main objective is to stare at a tray filled with various objects for about 10 seconds and try to recall as many of those items as you can once it’s covered back up. As you get better at the game, add more items or decrease your time. It seems simple enough, but even government agencies or surveillance teams will use it as a training tool.
Survival is the Goal
Your goal during a critical incident is to survive, whether that means running, fighting, or ducking for cover.
Eye-witnesses in Paris said when the gunmen started firing, many of them froze out of fear, allowing the terrorist to reload their weapons multiple times without opposition.
You never want to be the person who freezes. Start paying attention now to your exits whenever you walk into a building. Keep an eye out for places you could take cover if things turn sour. Defensive expert John Graham said ‘cover’ is entirely different than ‘concealment.’ You don’t want to confuse the two.
“Concealment simply hides you. That would be like you pulling the covers over your head. Well, you’re certainly not being seen…but that’s certainly not stopping the bullets whatsoever,” Graham said.
The important thing to take away here is to develop a contingency plan. Don’t be scared to think about the “what if.” Don’t be a victim.