An article by Katie Subbotina, Manager, Emergency Management and Business Continuity, Paladin Security
"We don't rise to the level of our expectation, we fall to the level of our training."- Archilochus
It's a habit for me to be aware of my surroundings, but the first time I started to be truly cautious at public events was after the movie theater shooting in Aurora, Colorado in 2012. I never sit in the middle of the theater anymore, always picking an aisle seat that will allow for a quicker escape. It's a sad reality that any event can be a possible target; whether we are celebrating personal achievement during a marathon, having fun at a concert, or relaxing in a movie theater.
Whenever I teach the Run, Hide or Fight approach, I always stress the importance of personal preparedness. We can have the best systems, policies and plans in place, but they can't eliminate the threat of an active attacker, nor can they account for the particular location of any one individual during the time of an attack. We have to take preparedness into our own hands and identify what we are going to do and where we are going to go. Maintaining awareness of nearest exits and hiding spots can make all the difference during those split seconds when you have to make a decision on how to act.
The opening quote has been adapted on numerous occasions and is most often quoted as stating, "Under pressure, we don't rise to the occasion, we sink to the level of our training". It's important to receive that training. It's important to create a plan in a calm and relaxed mindset, rather than trying to decide how to react when adrenaline is rising and every second counts for your survival.
Run, Hide or Fight works for every setting. As you begin to practice identifying exit points and hiding spots, the more natural the process becomes. While it may not feel so at first, you are not being paranoid, you are just being prepared. Likewise, if you are with a group of friends or loved ones, I also urge you to identify a meeting location in case you become separated. It's very common for cellphone towers to quickly become overwhelmed and you might not be able to account for the whereabouts of your loved ones.
Personal preparedness doesn't have to take away from your enjoyment of life, and will quickly become second nature with practice. When you set out on your daily activities, or attend an event, take a minute and come up with a plan as to where you will Run, where you can Hide, and how you will Fight - if it comes to that- and decide where to meet loved ones or how to let them know that you are okay. Personal preparedness is in your hands.
Katie joined Paladin Security in 2016, bringing with her experience, skills and expertise that enrich the Specialized Services Team. She has a Master's Degree in Emergency and Disaster Management from York University and holds a number of Emergency Management of Ontario certificates, including Incident Management System (IMS) 100, 200, 300, Exercise Program Design (EM 125) and Basic Emergency Management (EM 200).
While pursuing her Master's Degree, Katie focused her research on various aspects of first responder health and completed major research projects, earning international attention and publications in different parts of the globe. She thrives in engaging stakeholders for program development, facilitating train-the-trainer courses, updating and launching emergency policies and procedures while providing various emergency preparedness related tasks.