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Q&A: Security expert weighs in on safety in a crisis

CityNews | posted Tuesday, Oct 3rd, 2017

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At least 58 people are dead, and more than 500 injured after a gunman rained bullets down on a crowd of 20,000 attending a country music festival in Las Vegas on Sunday night.

The mass shooting now joins a growing list of attacks at concert venues.

Earlier this year, a homemade bomb killed 23 people at Manchester Arena during an Ariana Grande concert, and in 2015, 90 people were killed during an attack at the Bataclan Theatre in Paris.

These moments can leave many shaken – feeling uneasy about whether the next event they’re planning to attend could be targeted.

We spoke with security expert David Perry, CEO of Investigative Solutions Network, about how realistic those fears are and how some quick planning could provide peace of mind.

Q: What is your message to people who might be feeling afraid to go to public events like this?

A: I think fortunately these kinds of events are very rare so for us in the public to feel afraid to go to public venues and concerts would be a mistake.

I would never say “I’ll never go to Las Vegas.” Just the opposite, and I think we need to keep doing that in this time. Just pay more attention to your surroundings. The likelihood of each of us as individuals being the victim of these attacks is fairly low.

Q: How can people plan ahead when heading to a large crowd or public space in order to maintain some peace of mind?

A: Most people have a plan if there’s a fire in their home – they have an escape route, a safe meeting place.

So, same thing when I’m out in public with my family and friends. If we get separated for any reason – even just happenstance, you get lost – here is where we will meet. And if there’s an event and it’s not safe to meet there, here is the secondary place to meet.

Usually if there’s an event involving an active shooter, the further you can plan to meet, the better.

If you go to a public concert, I think people should really make themselves aware of how they can get out as quickly as possible. If there was an emergency, regardless of what kind of an emergency, to make themselves very aware of all the exits and where they can go when they have to.

Q: If, in the worst case scenario, you ever find yourself in an active shooter situation, what do you advise people to do?

A: In Canada we teach run, hide, fight. We teach everybody if you can get out and you can run and you can do it safely that’s what you should do.

If you cant, if you’re somehow trapped, the next best thing is to try to find a place to hide and hopefully also  secure yourself so the attacker cant reach you.

And if the worst case unfolded and the attacker got to you we teach people to fight. Do whatever you have to do – form a group and get ready to do what you have to do to survive.

Hopefully, nobody would ever be put in that position.

Q: If you are in an open space and it’s difficult to find cover, would you ever advise lying down and playing dead?

A: I advise people to do what they need to do to survive. With bullets raining down from above, lying down may not be your best option.

For me and in my experience, I would rather keep moving and try to get myself out of there because you have to remember, this shooting went on for quite a period of time and so every second or minute staying in that particular area while he was raining bullets puts you at risk of being struck.

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