Las Vegas suffered a mass shooting Oct. 1, 2017, as Stephen Paddock opened fire on civilians attending the Route 91 Harvest Festival, killing 58 and injuring almost 500 people. (cnn.com). This crisis left families in mourning, citizens of the United States in shock, and people with questions, prompting a nationwide discussion about safety, especially in public places and large groups.
It is important to be aware of safety procedures, especially knowing the ways in and out of public places. It may seem paranoid to survey surroundings, but safety is a subject for which attentiveness is welcome. “There [are] usually 4-5 exits in large venues,” Officer Carrie Hollyfield from the Cincinnati Police Department said. “Know where they all are… If you see something, say something. It is better to be wrong and have it checked out then to brush it off and then it be something. Always go with your gut.”
It may seem heroic to confront an assailant, but Hollyfield stresses that this isn’t safe. “Let law enforcement and negotiators handle that,” Hollyfield said, “They are trained to handle crisis situations.” In the event of an emergency, such as a shooting, crowds may run away from the assailant or the noise. This can be dangerous for an individual because a chaotic crowd promotes more confusion, plus a person could easily trip and fall. “If you do fall in crowds, try to get back on your feet immediately or roll your body into a ball so your chest isn’t crushed as others try to get away,” Hollyfield said.
One useful skill to have in case of danger is first aid. Knowing CPR and other lifesaving skills is a necessary skill in a crisis. “Stranger Danger” is also a phrase that is often used in jest, but it is important to keep this in mind in everyday life. “If you talk to strangers, don’t share information about yourself or your friends… Don’t be afraid to sound rude if someone keeps bothering you,” Hollyfield said.
Crowded areas may seem intimidating, but knowing what to do in a packed place will help. Staying in groups, keeping a charged cell phone, and knowing the way in and out of events are three ways Officer Hollyfield recommends to stay safe, along with knowing simple first aid and trusting your gut.