Safety experts: Have a plan in place before danger strikes

Safety experts: Have a plan in place before danger strikes
Majory Stoneman Douglas High School (Source: NBC)

(WWBT) - During Wednesday's deadly Florida shooting, there were reports of students hiding in closets and one student was reportedly killed trying to protect other students.

Mike Jones is a former police chief who now advises companies and even schools on how to prevent an active shooter scenario. He says it's about knowing what to do before you have to do it.

The tense moments that turned deadly were captured on cell phone video as the world watched in disbelief.

"I'm getting calls from schools, colleges. I'm getting calls from private businesses locally and regionally that say, 'What should we be doing? How can we prevent this?' " said Jones, who operates Major Security Consulting and advises architects on how to build schools that make it difficult for an active shooter to strike.

"The more distance and the more barriers you can put between the shooter and the people in your facility, the better off you are," he said.

But when the unimaginable becomes reality, what do you do to stay safe?

There's a common analogy Jones recommends - run, hide, fight.

"First off, know where you're running to. In your school, you should be very familiar with your surroundings. That's called Situational Awareness. If you hear something, run in the opposite direction. If you can't run, if the shooter is outside, hide. Hide where you can't be seen. If you can't hide and you can't run and you're confronted with a shooter, you have one alternative, and that's fight," he added.

Jones says have a plan that you discuss with a loved one if he or she is ever in this situation.

"Where do you meet? Who do you call? What should you do if you don't reach me?"

Many times, picking up the phone may not be an option.

"Nine times out of 10 the cellular lines are going to be jammed through everybody calling. Have a plan where you text your loved ones. It's called a Positive Plan. You text me and I'll text you. Let's reach each other quickly because the first thing you want to do is know your loved one is alive," he added.

It's a tough conversation to have now that can help save a life later.

"If you don't have a plan, then you're planning to fail," Jones said.

He also advises parents to ask your child's school if it has an active shooter plan and when's the last time they practiced it. He says during a crisis, your instincts will likely recall that training and put it to use when it's needed the most.

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