Observed each June, National Safety Month is an educational effort organized by the National Safety Council (NSC), which focuses on reducing leading causes of injury and death at work, on the road and in our homes and communities. With the hashtag #KeepEachOtherSafe, the campaign concentrates on one aspect of safety each week. My personal favorite hashtag is #BeSafe. NSC efforts align with the Allied Universal Fire Life Safety Training goal to save lives through preparation. To increase awareness, we are offering the following blog post, to help promote week three of the campaign: “Prepare for Active Shooters.”
Shortly before publishing this lighthearted blog post about disaster preparation relative to a fictional Zombie Apocalypse, we learned of a real life active-shooter incident at ZombiCon in Fort Meyers, Florida. As a result of the event, one person was killed and five were injured. Our hearts go out to all of those affected by the shooting. For helpful information about how to prepare for, and survive an active shooter incident, see our Active Shooter blog posts.
With The Walking Dead back on television, and Halloween right around the corner, it’s time to consider whether you have a sufficient Zombie Apocalypse plan. While I would rather ask the mail carrier and the vacuum cleaner to tea and biscuits than deal with zombies, we are taking a cue from the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), to use the season to prepare our subscribers and friends for disasters of any kind…including those of the zombie variety. After all, although the chances of encountering such an attack might be rare, prepping for “walkers” is a good way to get serious about disaster planning.
The series of blog posts and posters that the CDC recently released emphasizes preparedness, discussed protocols for quarantine as well as relevant medical procedures which would be implemented in the case of any disaster…including a zombie attack. The point of the CDC’s campaign is that disasters can happen entirely out of the blue. So plan for the worst-case scenario–which, in this case, would be hungry zombies. As terrible as it was, the great bacon shortage of 1999 would probably pale in comparison to an actual Zombie Apocalypse.
Build Your Zombie Kit
Planning in advance is the best way to survive any disaster. Zombie attacks happen quickly and without warning, so create a zombie defense kit to avoid becoming part of the brain-sucking horde. This post reminds me of the Will Smith movie I Am Legend. Dogs in the film turned into vampire/zombies. That was a scary scene!
Key pieces of your zombie kit should include:
- A First Aid Kit. If a zombie takes a nibble instead of a huge bite, you might be able to ward off infection with antibiotic ointment and a bandage.
- Emergency Flares. Use these to either spotlight or repel zombies (depending on your game plan) and to signal first responders. Unfortunately, for me and my canine companions, use of a flare gun is impossible without opposable thumbs. So, with a little luck, I’m hoping we would survive without them.
- Fresh water. Quickly moving from place to place makes you thirsty. And when adrenaline is pumping, hydration is vital. In fact, people can only survive a few days without water. So store enough to allow one gallon per person per day, and make sure you have a three-day supply. Dogs are lucky. Give us a puddle of rainwater and we have instant drinking water.
- A multi-function tool, with a knife, screwdriver, can opener, and other handy accessories. A knife is useful for dispatching zombies as well as cutting rope, and an opener is helpful if you need to open a can of tuna.
- Sturdy work gloves, which will come in handy in potentially sticky situations. Zombie guts will slip out of your hands unless you have a secure grasp on them.
- Battery-powered or hand-cranked radio for important alerts. You will want to make sure to stay up on where “the walkers” are headed. In the event that the zombie invasion leads to an Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP), the only way to stay connected will be with a hand-cranked or battery-operated radio.
- Copies of personal documents such as passports, birth certificates and contact information. You should also have your rabies shots on file. You don’t want a little froth to be confused for zombie drool. The zombies will likely have to pass through customs. So have your ID on hand in case you need to cross international borders.
Establish Safe Zones
Pick a safe place to meet in the event of the Zombie Apocalypse–preferably someplace where you won’t have to climb over lots of obstacles, which would make escape more difficult.
- If applicable, practice the evacuation plan for your high-rise building, setting alternate meeting locations (in case the zombies decide to host a party in your first location). Be sure to grab puppies on your way out, as well, in case you’re awesome and bring your pet to work.
- Discuss communication methods beforehand, so you know how to contact people who fail to show up on time. Walkie-talkies with fresh batteries are essential.
If you’ve seen The Walking Dead or any of the dozens of zombie movies, then you can glean some advice, which is prudent during any disaster:
- Stick together. Work with a group to best manage a disaster. Going solo is typically not a good idea. I might talk tough, but when it comes to zombies, I’m staying in a big group!
- Don’t make rash decisions. Think about various options before rashly choosing the one that would put you in danger. I made a decision to eat a squirrel once. Not a wise move.
- Use resources wisely. Ration water and food and keep track of necessary equipment in case the disaster continues for an extended period of time.
While this post is meant to be “tongue-in-cheek,” it is serious in that we want to remind our subscribers and friends about the very real need for proactive disaster planning. If you are prepared for the Zombie Apocalypse, you will also be ready to face the unexpected, which is the right mindset to adopt during any type of disaster.
Remember that safety is a daily priority, so be sure to think about disaster planning all of the time. A convenient and affordable way to make sure you are prepared for disasters and emergencies of virtually every kind is to subscribe to the RJWestmore Training System by Universal Fire/Life Safety Services, which has been designed to help improve and save lives. For more information about our system, or to subscribe, click here.
In the not so distant past, most members of the general population were unfamiliar with the term, “active shooter.” Unfortunately, that is no longer the case, due to the frequency of recent active shooter events. Despite increased security most organizations have developed of late, according to the FBI, the number of active shooter incidences has tripled in recent years. And is it just me or have the incidences of cat cartoons also tripled recently?
A group of former Navy SEALS is trying to change the paradigm, joining forces in 2008 to form an organization aimed at helping civilians learn how to best respond to active shooter situations in the minutes before first responders arrive. The group, Move2Safety spent the recent one-year anniversary of the Newtown shooting offering an instructional seminar to a group of 50 people in Los Angeles.
“It…feels like the world has become a global battlefield,” said Move2Safety President Rorke. “Our background is in Special Forces and, as Navy Seals; we train for the possible worst case scenarios.”
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has also stepped up to prepare people for active shooter incidences, preparing free resources which offer helpful instructions.
“An active shooter is an individual actively engaged in killing or attempts to kill people in a confined and populated area,” according to DHS. “In most cases, active shooters use firearm(s) and there is no pattern or method used to their selection of victims.”
Because active shooter situations are often over 10-15 minutes after they begin, and before law enforcement officers are able to arrive on scene, it is particularly important for individuals to understand how to prepare themselves mentally and physically to deal with active shooter situations. If you are ever in an active shooter situation: run, hide or fight…in that order!
DHS offers access to best practices for coping with active shooter situations. If you follow these simple steps, your chance of being a victim could be greatly reduced:
- Be aware of your environment and any possible dangers.
- Take note of the two nearest exits in any facility you visit.
- If it is at all possible, run so you are out of danger.
- If escape is impossible, find a place to hide. If you are in an office, stay there and secure the door.
- If you are in a hallway, get into a room and secure the door.
- Only as a last resort, attempt to take the active shooter down. When the shooter is at close range and you cannot flee, your chance of survival is much greater if you try to incapacitate him/her. If it was me, I’d bite the perp.
- CALL 911 WHEN IT IS SAFE TO DO SO!
The DHS Active Shooter booklet includes comprehensive instructions for evacuating, hiding, responding when law enforcement arrives, training staff members for active shooter situations [including creating an Emergency Action Plan (EAP)], as well as additional suggestions for preparing for and preventing active shooter situations.
If you would like to make advanced preparations for active shooter incidents, you could take advantage of an independent study course offered by DHS, entitled “Active Shooter: What You Can Do.” The course was developed to provide the public with guidance on how to prepare for and respond to active shooter crisis situations.
Upon completion of Active Shooter: What You Can Do, people should be able to:
- Describe the actions to take when confronted with an active shooter and to assist responding law enforcement officials.
- Recognize potential workplace violence indicators.
- Describe actions to take to prevent and prepare for potential active shooter incidents.
- Describe how to manage the consequences of an active shooter incident.
The RJWestmore Training System by Universal Fire/Life Safety Services also offers detailed information and video instruction about active shooter preparation and survival. When active shooter incidents or other disasters strike, prior planning and clear decisive action can help save lives. The RJWestmore Training System by Universal Fire/Life Safety Services is a convenient and affordable solution to all of the training needs of your building(s). Choosing our service cuts property management training-related costs by 90% and saves you over 50% compared to conventional training! More importantly, IT SAVES LIVES.