10 tips for safe travel
Twenty people were killed in a mass shooting at a shopping complex recently at El Paso, Texas.
Within 24 hours, another massacre occurred when someone killed nine people, including his sister, at an entertainment district in Dayton, Ohio.
Two massacres, 13 hours apart. Twenty-nine people dead and at least 53 injured.
Recently, we also learned about three people being fatally shot and 15 injured at a a garlic festival at Gilroy, Calif.
So far this year in the U.S., there have reportedly been 19 mass shootings where four or more people were killed. In all, more than 100 people have been gunned down, so far this year.
At Kansas City recently, a 25-year-old woman was killed by a stray bullet at a popular nightlife venue.
At Oak Park Mall in the Overland Park area, I found myself actively scanning the big crowd of shoppers for potential shooters.
If you’ve been to public events that attract massive crowds, you’ve probably been looking around and doing the same thing that I was yesterday.
If you’re not doing that yet, you’re foolish, in my view.
History has taught us that catastrophic things can happen when large groups of people assemble.
Statistically, experts say you are safer in a crowd than you are when driving a car, and I agree, but with all these mass shootings I don’t think you can feel incredibly safe at any big crowds, anymore.
Here are some tips from emergency responders on how to feel and stay as safe as possible when you’re in a big crowd.
1.Wear shoes that aren’t likely to fall off, trip you up or be hard to run in if necessary. To make falling less likely, go for a practical pair of boots, sneakers, or another sturdy shoe you can depend on in an emergency.
Skip options like flip-flops, which don’t offer much traction and can become a tripping hazard. Similarly, giant heels can make it harder to run or leave you more vulnerable to a twisted ankle.
2.Consider wearing clothes that are pretty hard to yank on and unlikely to make you stumble. Tell your wardrobe we’re sorry: Much like the footwear tip, it can make sense to consider your outfit for a huge event with an eye on safety.
3.Hydrate before and during the event. Dehydration and fainting are very common at cramped and crowded events. The prolonged standing and the heat generated from a crowd can impair someone’s normally resilient physiology.
4.Go easy on the alcohol. Keeping your drink tally low will help you keep your wits about you. It’s no secret that excessive amounts of alcohol can cause issues like a loss of motor control, delayed reactions and poor decision-making, but so can just small changes in your blood alcohol content.
5.Charge your phone fully beforehand. Should you become injured or separated from your group, you can use the device to call for help or call your group.
6.Come up with a plan in case you and your friends get separated. Make a backup plan with your friends in case you get separated in an emergency. It’s not enough to make plans to take an Uber ride to or from an event. You need to know what you’re going to do, if there’s a safety issue at the event you are planning to attend.
7.Identify all of the venue’s exits when you arrive, especially the ones closest to you. Knowing the way you came in isn’t enough. If panic ensues, many people will instinctively try to get out the way they entered. You need smart alternatives.
8.In the rare event that the crowd stampedes, try to move diagonally to the edge of the group. Avoid going to the center of the group. It’s best to stay on the perimeter. Assume a boxer-like stance as you go: hands up and in front of your chest (this gives you a bit more room to breathe), feet planted firmly on the ground when you’re not moving.
9.If a fire alarm goes off or you smell suspicious smoke, get out immediately. If there’s a fire (or even a hint of one), move toward an exit ASAP. Don’t look back!
10.Take deep, calming breaths, and remind yourself that you know how to get out of this situation. One of the best things you can do is try to stay as calm as possible even if you’re rightfully feeling terrified.
Parents, have these kinds of discussions with all of your kids. Like mom always said, “Better safe than sorry.’’