Healing from Orlando: When We Must Prepare Ourselves for the Absolute Worst
To our wonderful, Wanderful community:
This is a post that is very difficult to write. It comes during a scary time in the United States and around the world. A time when many of us realize how fragile our lives really are.
The recent shooting in Orlando (a city known to many as a tourism hub) happened only a few days ago, and there are many of us who are still fighting to understand why and how it happened.
In the next few days, we hope to share some important perspectives as we work through this tragedy.
In this message, however, I wanted to speak simply on the point that we have learned all to well — that emergencies can happen anywhere, whether we are at home or abroad.
Today I received an email from Global Rescue, our preferred partner for travel risk and crisis management services. The message included a long list of things that we should think about — and, most importantly, things that we should do — if we are to ever find ourselves in moments of real emergency when we are at home or abroad.
I felt that these words of advice would be useful to share with our Wanderful family as we learn to approach difficult topics together, and have received Global Rescue’s permission to include some of their recommendations below.
I hope this is of use to you almost as much as I hope that no one will ever have to utilize important advice like this again.
Advice From Global Rescue
This information is taken directly from Global Rescue’s newsletter. They are not the words of Wanderful.
Active shooter situations are unpredictable and evolve quickly. Active shooter situations are often over within 10 to 15 minutes, before law enforcement arrives on the scene, so awareness and mental rehearsals of the following immediate actions will go a long way to increase the odds of surviving an active shooter incident.
The immediate actions an individual can take during a mass shooting are: Run, Hide, Fight.
- Move away from the assailant immediately.
- Look for an escape route, follow exit signs.
- Leave your belongings behind.
- Stay out of open areas.
- Put something between you and the assailant.
- If unable to immediately escape, and if you know where the assailant is, look for an escape route close to you.
- If in doubt, find the safest area available and secure it the best way that you can.
- Always try to hide with an exit strategy. Hiding places can include a classroom, office, residence hall room, restroom, or other type of confined or contained space.
- Silence your cell phone and/or other digital devices.
- Lock or barricade the door. Block the door using whatever is available: desks, tables, file cabinets, other furniture, books, etc.
- After securing the door, stay behind solid objects away from the door as much as possible.
- Turn off lights, close blinds and block windows to prevent shadows being cast under the door.
- Turn off radios and computer monitors.
- Place signs in exterior windows to identify your location and the location of injured persons.
- Be aware that the assailant may not stop until his objectives have been met or until engaged and neutralized by law enforcement.
- Always consider the risk exposure by opening the door for any reason.
- Be aware that the assailant may bang on the door, yell for help, or otherwise attempt to entice you to open the door of a secured area.
- If there is any doubt about the safety of the individuals inside the room, the area needs to remain secured.
- Attempts to rescue people only should be made if it can be done without further endangering the persons inside of a secured area.
While hiding, use caution in calling for help using mobile devices, landline, email, text, and radios to get first responders moving to your location. Attempt to provide information in a calm clear manner so that the other person can understand the situation and assist quickly with the right kind of response. You may hear multiple rings—stay on the line until it is answered—do not hang up. Be prepared to provide as much information as possible about the situation, any injured persons at your location and assailant(s).
The goal is to create enough space and time between you and the assailant to escape to relative safety. As a last resort and only when your life is in imminent danger, and only if other options have failed or unavailable, attempt to incapacitate the assailant. Act with physical aggression and violence of action; throw anything available at the assailant. Work as a team when with others.
- Create a plan.
- Get positive control of a weapon.
- Use improvised weapons such as tools, sporting goods, anything hard that will break bones.
Civil, military or private forces, or a mix of these elements, may respond to the incident. Other emergency service (EMS) agencies, such as fire and rescue, may respond to the site but will not be able to enter the area until it is cleared and secured. You may need to treat the injured as best you can until the area is secure.
Responders will attempt to locate, contain, and stop the assailant. The safest place for you to be is inside a secure room. The assailant may not flee when responders enter a building, but instead may target arriving officers.
Responders will attempt to establish safe corridors for persons to evacuate. This may be time consuming. Remain in secure areas until instructed otherwise. Remember to:
- Remain calm and follow instructions.
- Put down any items in your hands (i.e., bags, jackets).
- Raise hands and spread fingers. You may be instructed to keep your hands on your head.
- Keep hands visible at all times.
- Avoid quick movements toward officers such as holding on to them for safety.
- Avoid pointing, screaming or yelling.
- Do not stop to ask officers for help or direction when evacuating.
After evacuation you may be taken to a staging or holding area for medical care, interviewing, counseling, etc. You may be searched. Once you have been evacuated you will not be permitted to retrieve items or access the area until someone releases the crime scene. Remain inside the secure area.
Initial responders will not treat the injured or begin evacuation until the threat is neutralized and the area is secure. You may need to explain this to others in order to calm them. Once the threat is neutralized, officers will begin treatment and evacuation.
For more information about Global Rescue and its work to help travelers in moments of crisis, visit our partnership page here.