Yesterday marked the one-year anniversary of the Parkland shootings; a tragic event that sparked outrage, inspired gun control activism, and prompted a more serious debate on school security. Media coverage reported that in the year since Parkland, some school districts have responded by installing hundreds of cameras or hiring armed guards. Others are empowering students and teachers through security training.
Many people are taking a proactive approach to personal safety since the Parkland tragedy. Adopting a security mindset and practicing situational awareness are basic life-safety practices. Being alert and aware of your surroundings is something everyone can do to be safer. Observing your environment is key, yet with all the distractions of modern life, it is challenging to practice.
Use all your senses. You hear anywhere from 20 to 100 times faster than you see so sound modifies all the other sensory inputs. Remember, noise cancelling headphones eliminate an entire set of environmental information so use them judiciously.
When you find yourself in a soft target such as sports or shopping venues, schools, or transportation systems, always look for the closest exit. Take a few brief moments to plan your escape in case an emergency happens – and then plan a back-up route in case Plan A is blocked. When traveling on an airplane, we always get the two-minute security briefing. You can take that same approach in everyday situations.
As we continue to mourn victims of Parkland and other active shooter events, we can strengthen our personal resolve to adopt a security mindset and have a plan should violence strike.