NEW HOPE, Minn. (WCCO) – The mass shootings in Wisconsin and Colorado have a lot of Americans thinking about what they would do in a similar situation.
But some of the ways we think we’d react aren’t always what will keep us safe.
Houston Police and the Department of Homeland Security put out a training video last week instructing viewers to “run, hide and fight.”
Larry Yatch, owner of Sealed Mindset in New Hope, knows about staying safe.
“The most important thing people can do to understand in any situation you can take positive action,” said Yatch.
He’s a retired Lieutenant with 10 years spent as a US Navy SEAL.
“To me, confidence is the most important aspect of personal safety,” he said. “Most criminals, unless they have an altered mental status, meaning they’re drunk, high or crazy, are looking at a risk versus reward situation. The more you elevate their risk, the more likely they’re to pick someone else. So confidence is key.”
No matter the situation, there are some things you can do to stay safe if you find yourself in harm’s way.
“One of the most important things that I want people to understand is every single person out there can learn something more that will help them survive in these bad situations,” he said.
The first thing you should do if you’re threatened is create distance, or more simply put, run. Yatch said running is a universal action – whether it’s from a dangerous-looking person on the street or an active shooter in a shopping mall.
If you can’t get away, create a barricade.
“A barricade could be a locked door, building, car or even other people. Putting something between you and the bad guy,” said Yatch. “A critical aspect to hiding, is finding a place that stops bullets so you can’t be injured but still offers a secondary means of escape.”
When it comes to concealing yourself, you don’t want to be in a situation you can’t get out of.
“A critical aspect to hiding is finding a place that stops bullets so you can’t be injured but still offers a secondary means of escape,” said Yatch. “Hiding in a closet isn’t necessarily a good thing because you’re stuck. But locking yourself in a room that has a window you could get out of would be a better option.”
The final step of defending yourself is knowing when you have to defend yourself by fighting. The best way to be prepared, Yatch said, is to sit down with your family and create a plan.
“Just going through that thought process is going to give you a much better sense of security and that confidence so you can survive. Think about what you would do,” he said. “So if some crazy guy came in here, where’s the exit? How am I getting out? What can I find that’ll stop bullets from hitting me? If I needed to defend myself what could I use? My purse? The arm rest?”
Guns and other weapons aren’t the only way to protect yourself. That’s why knowing ahead of time you could use a chair or your purse could save your life. Even a flashlight could protect you from an attacker. The bright light in their eyes will disorient them, giving you a chance to escape.
“Every single person out there can learn something more that will help them survive in these bad situations,” he said.
Sealed Mindset offers various safety and defense classes with and without weapons. You’ll find more information on its website.