How do you know when to run, hide or fight?
While an active aggressor situation can be frightening, there are ways to be prepared.
Safe Passage Consulting trains people nationwide on how to best react when faced with an active aggressor.
“It could be a person with a gun and that’s what we hear about the most,” Safe Passage Consulting Director of Physical Security Larry Nelson said. “The second thing is a person with an edged weapon, which could be an ax or knives; motor vehicles, we’ve seen those instances and finally explosives, and those are pretty rare but still they do occur.”
If you find yourself in a bad situation, Nelson said your options are to get out, barricade or take action.
“We say, first and foremost, get out, get away,” Nelson said. “Whatever it is that works for your brain, that’s what we want you to do for that first step because distance is your friend, right? The farther you are away from a problem, the less bad things can happen to you.”
Unfortunately, you can’t always get away. Nelson said the next best option is to get inside a room and barricade the door, by locking it or stacking heavy items in front of the door.
Nelson said that when it’s time to take action, you can attack the source of the weapon and try to disable it. You can also throw things at the aggressor to distract them, but acting does not have to mean physically fighting someone.
“Can you give direction? Awesome. Can you pick up a cell phone and call 911? Absolutely. Could you grab somebody else who’s in a state of shock, shake them out of it and drag them along with you? Absolutely,” Nelson said.
Having a plan is important, and Nelson said it should be as natural as putting on a seat belt each time you get in a car.
“Having a plan for an active aggressor situation is actually that simple and it applies to not only active aggressor; it applies to all other things as well,” Nelson said. “Situationally aware, having a plan, practicing the plan makes you safer overall.”
You don’t have to be extremely clever or have a black belt in karate to keep yourself safe; Nelson said most of it comes down to having a plan in the back of your mind.