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The Cardiologist's Wife - Basic Tips for Surviving a Mass Tragedy
Oct 04, 2017

It’s sad that I even feel the need to write this column today but these are dangerous times we are living in and being prepared could save your life. Too often the headlines tell the same sad story of another mass shooting or bombing that kills dozens of innocent people. Staying at home isn’t the answer; we deserve to live our lives to the fullest extent. There are some ways you can improve your survival chances in a large gathering in the event of tragedy. Thinking about these things ahead of time and being prepared is the first step.

Stay hydrated at large public events and avoid alcohol so your reaction times aren’t slowed. Wear comfortable clothes and tennis shoes so you don’t trip or can’t move fast. Ladies, now is not the time for fashion. The fewer possessions you take with you, the less you have to worry about and the less weight you have to carry. Keep you car keys in a secure, safe pocket but leave everything else that isn’t absolutely necessary. You can use a thin pouch on a neck strap that slides under your shirt for your drivers license and a credit card. Consider whether the kids would be better off at home with a sitter.

Remain aware of the situation and your surroundings at all times. When you arrive at the venue, check out the nearest exits and alternative routes you could take if the main exit is blocked. Are there stairs that could present a problem, do you have young children or elderly people with you?

During the event, keep tabs on crowd density and leave if things are getting too close for comfort. Don’t wait until you are pinned in tightly; you should have a comfortable space around you. If things take a bad turn and the crowd begins to surge toward an exit, don’t fight against the tide, go with the flow and look for ways to move to the edge diagonally and escape. Linking arms with your companions is better than trying to hold hands to stay together. Always help those around you because if they go down, your chances of being knocked down increase as well. Be aware of the mood of the crowd. If things are starting to get tense, it’s time to leave. If extra security arrives, it’s time to leave.

Have an agreed upon meeting place that everyone in your group is familiar with in case you get separated. It shouldn’t be too far away but out of the main area where the event is taking place. Take a group photo before leaving so you have a current photo with exactly what everyone is wearing in case you need it for authorities. Wearing bright or unusual colors can make you easier to spot in a crowd but also makes you an easy target. You could bring a dark jacket or shirt to throw on if the situation calls for it. Make sure everyone in the group has each other’s cell number so if you are separated, you can reconnect.

One last thought, being out of shape can directly impact your ability to get away or move quickly in a crowd. Now is the time to start exercising. Next week I’ll have tips on what to do if there is an active shooter.

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