Recently in our Jewish community, there has been an unsettling increase in bomb and security threats against our schools, community centers and synagogues. These threats should be taken seriously. Below are 5 tips for protecting yourself in these uncertain times.
#1: Take Responsibility
Did you know that during violent attacks, First Responders usually arrive after the event has finished? If you wait for help to arrive, it will probably be too late. Never ask, “Who is going to take care of me?” Instead, ask, “What do I need to do?” Perhaps part of what you will need to do, is call someone who knows more than you. However, this mindset reminds YOU to act.
#2: Don’t let yourself become a victim
Attackers rarely attack randomly. They choose a victim. Your own personal preparedness and awareness of your surroundings can deter an attacker. Especially when you are alone, take a moment to scan your environment. Keep your eyes up, and earphones in your pocket, especially if you are in an environment that might be attractive to an attacker. Also, be aware of your gut feelings. If something does not feel right, pay attention.
#3: Evacuate or Shelter
During an emergency, there is only one of two defensive responses you will ever need to do: evacuate or find shelter. If you know this, dealing with an emergency is easier. This decision should be made according to your assessment of the situation. If it is more dangerous to stay where you are, evacuate. If it is more dangerous outside of where you are, find shelter.
#4: Training vs. Education
Education is an intellectual understanding of a subject. An intellectual understanding will produce complete failure during an emergency. Training is a physical and physiological process by which you can produce muscle memory to act quickly and effectively during emergencies. Effective training, based on actual results (not theory) should be conducted to make YOU into the most valuable component of any security system.
#5: Be proactive
Don’t wait for something bad to happen before you start thinking about your safety. There are simple preventative measures you can take that can deter, delay, or even stop a threat and will cost FAR less than the cost of recovering after an emergency for which you were unprepared. When people think about security, cameras are often the first thing that come to mind. However, can a camera stop an intruder? Even though it is typically invisible, security window film may be a far more valuable asset, since it can delay or even stop an intruder from breaking your windows and entering. As an ancillary benefit, this film protects against injuries associated with accidents involving broken glass.
During an emergency, if you have to wait for even 30 seconds for help to arrive, it will feel like an eternity. If you incorporate a mindset of taking responsibility for your own safety and security, if you don’t let yourself become an easy victim, and if you get yourself training, you can save lives. And it could be your own.