Getting lost in the crowd is easy – not knowing how to manage your safety in large violent crowds can get you killed.

Being able to protect yourself and your family starts with the ability to increase your own level of awareness, educate yourself on what to look for, and understand how to develop prevention strategies for dealing with large crowds in malls.

Being able to protect yourself does not start with the ability to throw a punch or use a weapon. In fact, in many cases, if that is all the training you have had, you have not really been trained to defend yourself.

Incidents of violence in our malls are growing  and can overtake your quickly so you have to be ready to respond to these potentially life-threatening situations.

Our survival motto for this is “Escape first, then Barricade and, as your last resort, Defend you and your family.”

These are 3 fast tips to surviving mall violence and increase your ability to identify danger and enhance your situational awareness.

  1. Escape planning:   means you know where they are, and how to get there and where to go when you are there
  • Have a discussion with your family on the non-verbal and verbal cues for quickly returning together
  • Before you get out of your car select a parking space you can see the entrance of the store
  • Be mindful of the cover positions as to avoid running in an open uncovered area to your car (sometime the best route is the most direct route
  • This will help you in exiting the area quicker but help with family accountability when selecting a meeting place if things go bad inside the stores
  • Select your escape routes when you enter the mall, stores, and restaurants even in the open food court areas. Try to never put yourself into a place without an escape route
  • Position yourself in the areas and stores you are in while shopping to see others entering and leaving your area
  • If you hear gun shots when moving in the crowd quickly move towards cover. Many times when gun fire is present the people running blindly and in the open are shot.
  • If you are standing in front of a large crowd quickly approaching – immediately move to the side of the crowd place your shoulder against a wall with your other hand up and extend it from your body as watch carefully on the best direction to start moving to safety
  • Pay close attention to the direction of the crowd. Many times when trapped inside a crowd people tend to move with the crowd and this is dangerous as the only one knowing where the crowd is moving is the people in the front and MANY times these people were triggered by panic and are trying to get away from the people behind them
  • If you can GET OUT – DO IT
  • If you cannot get out find a safe place to go
  1. Barricade strategies:
  • Barricading options start with:
    1. Never select a place to hide in unless you can escape from it
    2. Pick a place you can see and hear danger approaching.
    3. Select a place where you can defend yourself.
  • Barricade considerations:
    • There is a difference between cluttering and blocking the doorway and barricading an entrance. Also does the door open inwards or outwards
      • Just piling items and objects in front of a door is not necessarily providing you with a barricade
      • Selecting large, solid objects that require strength, time and effort to penetrate the door is barricading the door and stopping bullets like desks, chair, filing cabinets
      • Carrying 12 feet of 550 parachute cord can assist in medical aid and help with door opening outwards, a small 2 oz. tube of superglue and a few coins in the doorway can assist in securing the door itself
      • Identify what are your positioning of cover.  If you hear the sound of a gun, the first thing you should do is immediate get behind cover this is a solid object that would protect you from any bullets coming in your direction – then carefully start to look around for the direction and area of the sound.
  1. Defense Tactics for large crowds: 
  • Many times when dealing with large crowds the best defense is a SAFE DEFENSE – this means to get to a location until the crowd passes
  • If you were unable to get out of the area and have to stay in place until help arrives quickly conduct a visual survey of the immediate area for weapons of availability
  • These are items in your immediate area you can use to defend yourself.  Remember when selecting a weapon for defense take into consideration what distance it will give you from the threat; what effort you need to put into using it and what exactly are you trying to accomplish.
  • Pick out your “Engagement locations”, rarely is allowing the crowd to enter the room a better option then defending them at the doorway. Plus when you select your engagement location you have the advantage!

Over all safety requires you to remain alert, be decisive and have a pre-planned response and the above strategy of Escape, Barricade and Defense will assist you in doing that.

Have a Happy and Safe New Year