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Safety First - How can YOU stay safe during an active threat?

There's been stabbing in the Colony and two shootings in Plano this week. A Plano police officer shows us how to stay safe during an active threat.
Safety tips from a Plano Police Officer – how do you call 911?

Local Profile has partnered with Plano Police's crime prevention officer Chris Bianez to bring you important information on safety in Collin County. We will cover a different topic every week.

These may seem scary to talk about; the world can be a scary place. But rather than inciting fear, we want to help you be aware and empowered to make your Safety First.

A gunshot rings out in a public space; the grocery store, work or school. It's a sound we all hope to never hear -- or have our children hear -- in our lifetimes. But sadly, active threats like shootings are an all-too-common headline now.

A shooter can choose any time and any place to open fire, for any reason (like this suspect who opened fire at the Plano Police Department on Sunday).

And sometimes an active threat isn't necessarily a shooter -- this suspect armed with a knife stabbed and critically wounded two people in Grandscape, causing great fear among people present while he was loose.

So how can you prepare if there's an active threat endangering you?

Whether the threat is a gun, an knife, or an explosive, here are the tips you need to remember from Plano Police Officer Chris Bianez.

Safety tip #1: Have a survivor mindset

Movement saves lives. This is a very important concept to remember, and it can help you through active threat scenarios, fires, and airplane crashes. What happens when people have not planned for these types of emergencies? They panic, and often they freeze. So it's important to have a plan of action, and a survivor mindset.

This concept was introduced to me in the police academy. It was simple, but I never forgot it, and it was simply this: "I'm going home tonight."

Because no person has the right to take you away from your family. No person has the right to take you from your profession. No person has the right to take you off this earth.

Say something to yourself that gives you that grit and will to survive whatever comes your way.

Safety tip #2: Run, Hide, Fight (in that order)

I like the Department of Homeland Security's three strategies because they are easy to remember:

  • Run - If you have the option to run away from a deadly threat, you take that option and you run. How far? Out of the kill zone. Once you're out of the kill zone and feel safe, call 911.
  • Hide - If it would be too dangerous to run, that's when you would hide. We're not hiding and hoping the person doesn't come into the doors. We're doing something much more beneficial -- we're hiding and preparing for if that person discovers us. So we are getting ready for the worst case scenario, your last resort, which would be to...
  • Fight - In the event we have to fight. So we might be arming ourselves with improvised weapons such as a scissors or fire extinguisher, or letter opener, something that we can use to defend ourselves. You're fighting for your life. You want to survive. Fight like it. And know that you're justified in using deadly force to protect yourself, or a third party, from someone else's illegal use of deadly force.

One additional step to consider:

What do you do if you're in room with no exit because the shooter is blocking the way? He starts firing and people are falling down injured and dying. There's no place for you to hide. You feel like charging the shooter wouldn't be wise. So what do you?

One thing that that people have successfully done is to play dead. This is what a first grader from Sandy Hook did to survive the 2012 shooting.

Safety Tip #3: Trust your intuition

One of the key things to do is to trust your intuition. If you can, remove yourself from danger. When it's safe to make the call, get law enforcement on scene.

The good news is they're coming. The bad news is, on average, it takes about three minutes for law enforcement to arrive. So what you do within those three minutes can sometimes determine whether you live or die. So it's important to trust your intuition, say "I'm going home tonight," and have a plan to run, hide or fight.

Learn more about staying safe during an active threat from Officer Bianez: