Around 9:55 a.m. (Eastern Standard Time) today, shots were heard in the Fort Lauderdale Airport. By the afternoon, the airport had been evacuated and reports were released that at least nine people were injured. By 2:00 p.m. (EST), it was reported that 5 people were killed and the gunman Esteban Santiago was in custody.
Incidents like this insist that we enhance our active shooter training and general situational awareness. Being aware of your environment — who is there, what they are holding, how they are behaving, nearest entrances and exits — offers you a chance to identify suspicious activity, report a suspicion, and prepare to run, hide, or fight.
Here are our tips on handling an active shooter incident in the moment.
As soon as you realize are in an active shooter incident, be prepared to run, hide, and fight. Put yourself into a mindset that keeps you calm yet reactive. Your first instinct should be to run away from the situation. Once you can confirm you are safe, locate or call police officers or local security.
If running is not possible, find a hiding place. This can be the nearest space in which you can lock and/or barricade the door and take cover behind dense objects. If there is no room or space readily available, hide behind or under a large dense objects, or a dark space that would be difficult in which to identify a target for a shooter. Keep in mind that if you are hiding, you may need to move to a new space is the threat gets closer and that you may also end up fighting. Wherever you are, fashion yourself an improvised weapon with which to fight.
If you must engage in a fight with an active shooter, you have three key goals: defend yourself, incapacitate the perpetrator, and secure his/her weapon as quickly as possible. Heavy objects from your surroundings that can be thrown at or bashed into the perpetrator are ideal weapons. If there are others with you, work as a team.
Remember, your safety is primary in an active shooter situation.
Some additional notes here about active shooter trainings are likely spaces for such situations and what trainings can prepare you for in such an event.
The Fort Lauderdale Airport baggage claim area unfortunately demonstrates a prime soft target, as is any other airport’s baggage claim around the globe. Soft targets are spaces open to the public with little-to-no screening and are relatively unsecured and densely populated. Other common soft targets include boardwalks, street festivals, public events, and public gatherings. While airports do have security and generally heavy screening by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) on the way into terminals, there are many open access points — including baggage claim terminals and general ticketing areas — that do not require security screenings.
Participating in active shooter training enhances one’s likeliness to remember the key element of enduring such a situation: run, hide, fight. AEGIS Security & Investigations offers a real-life active shooter training course in which students learn to ensure their personal safety and help those around them stay clear of danger. The greatest benefits to a course like this are its ability to put trainees into the proper reactionary mindset, its unique approach as a drill to create physical memory of what to do, and its insistence on the need for run, hide, and fight.
AEGIS Security & Investigations is a Los Angeles region company that is licensed and insured in the State of California to provide high-end armed and unarmed regular and temporary off-duty police officers, bodyguards, security officers, loss prevention agents, and event staff. Additionally, we offer services for private investigation, consultation, people tracing, and background investigation. Our trainings and workshops in the field of security licensure and counter-terrorism have been featured in news media and are renowned for their efficacy. For more information or to contact us, visit www.aegis.com.
Author: Chelsea Turner & Jeff Zisner