When you think of danger zones, what comes to mind? A war-torn country with a volatile government? A high-crime city with a dangerous gang presence? While these are all valid danger zones, there are other, less obvious places that can be just as hazardous.
For instance, people have been attacked while attending a funerals, in church, picking their kids up from school, eating in restaurants, and other places that seem to be unlikely epicenters for violence.
The fact is, we live in a world where these attacks are occurring in a-typical settings with increasing frequency and lethality - like the one that happened here at this hospital.
While most of us will never be personally targeted in venues like this, that doesn’t mean you can’t be collateral damage. Once you step out into the public square, there are no real safe zones.
So, here's few tips in general to increase survivability:
1. Identify and retain quick access to entrances and exits. Plan your evacuation routes early beforehand, so you won't be behind if hostilities commence.
2. Keep your eyes on angles and avenues of approach. Increasing your observation and field of view affords you the ability to observe at things at distance. Distance buys you time - time to think, time to access, and time to decide.
3. Read the room - do a scan of the individuals and their emotional states around you. People generally behave in a manner that is appropriate to the context of their settings. For instance, people don't typically shout while studying at the library, do they? By contrast, shouting and whooping it up is perfectly fine at a football game. It's all about making sure the behaviors around you are congruent with what's expected in that setting. If it's not, we may have an issue.
4. If it doesn’t feel right, leave. It's that simple. We are hard-wired with senses and internal warnings that are sometimes hard to explain. These senses, which were honed and sharpened to a high degree by our ancestors in antiquity have atrophied in the modern world. The truth is, if something doesn't feel right, leave. You don't owe anyone an explanation or have to justify it. Go with your gut. Others have and are alive today because of it.
What would you add to the list? Share your thoughts and insights in the comments below.