Wednesday, May 24, 2017

For the next 60 seconds - THIS IS ONLY A DRILL!

When I was a kid (back in the olden days), our school conducted two drills per year - a fire drill and a tornado drill.  Besides being guaranteed to get you out of class for close to an hour, the thought has always been that if you know what to do, you have the best chance of survival.  And the more you practice something, the better you will know it.

I still remember the tornado siren sounding at noon every Monday.  This was when the sirens were routinely tested in the event they were ever needed.  People who live in Kansas and Missouri relied on these sirens.  In Texas, sirens are scarce and we rely on the news (really scary).
You can run...and hide!

I also remember the radio and TV tests conducted periodically for the Emergency Broadcasting System.  "For the next 60 seconds, our station will be conducting a test for the Emergency Broadcasting System.  This is only a test.  In the event of a real emergency, you would be instructed...." . Obviously I heard this one frequently enough to have it permanently tattooed on my brain.  Thankfully, all I have ever heard is "the test".

That part really hasn't changed in today's world.  What has changed is the number of drills you now have to be prepared to know.

Today I attended a Lunch and Learn on Personal Safety and Active Shooter Awareness.  WOW!  This is a far cry from exiting the school single file (no pushing or shoving) for a fire drill.  

Active Shooter Awareness, along with Workplace Violence weren't commonplace during my time in school.  Not so much when we were raising our older kids either.  But now, today's generation will never know a time when this didn't happen with such frequency that it requires practice.

Yes, today I learned that fire and tornado drills are not enough.  We need to regularly participate in an Active Shooter drill.  And before we ever practice what we would do, we need to know what we should do.  Unfortunately, this does not apply to only one scenario.  Whether we are at work, at school, church, the movies...any place we go in this world, we need to have a plan.  As it has become increasingly apparent, there is no such thing as a safe place.  

I also learned that the philosophy surrounding personal safety (in any situation) has changed significantly.  Growing up we were taught, "don't resist, do what they say" which now basically translates to "hope for the best".  Today we were told to FIGHT, FIGHT, FIGHT.   That means a lot of different things (and there is no one right way) but basically, do not give in without doing all you can.  It's ironic, because I have always told my girls, if someone approaches you with a gun and wants you to get in the car, RUN, RESIST, SCREAM,  Because people who want to do you harm, are going to.  Make sure you do not go willingly.  And now that philosophy is here.

The reoccurring theme in today's training was  -don't be a victim.  That thought process interests me in so many different themes of life but today we are only talking about one.  It made me think about how crime is reported.  Affected parties are labeled crime "victims".  It would seem our terminology makes it easy to fall in that category but our presenter from Public Safety says otherwise.  He made it clear - you might get hurt, you might get killed but do so from a position of resistance.  Do not be a victim.  Maybe we need to differentiate between "victims" and "resisters".

So my takeaways - be aware of your surroundings always (don't text or play with your phone).  When you are out and about, identify your exits and don't let yourself get boxed in.  You have three choices in an emergency situation "run, hide or fight".  If you can do either of the first, go for it.  Otherwise, FIGHT (and make it loud).  You will want to be heard!

Until next time,

your pal,

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