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Knowledge–Essential to Safety and Protection

Safety Demonstration

Whenever you board an airplane, there is always a safety demonstration before the pilot takes off toward the destination. You know, the one that tells you to “note the exit nearest you” and explains how to use the drop-down oxygen masks. The safety demonstration is how the crew lets you know that there is always a risk attached to flying, but that they have accounted for the risks and provided possible solutions to make an unfortunate situation, like a plane crash, as safe as possible.

What if there were no safety demonstrations and the plane did in fact crash? No one would be equipped with the knowledge they need to handle a plane crash properly. Everyone would be in a state of panic and many more would die than would have if they knew the safety procedures.

Mass Shooting Knowledge

What are the equivalents of the nearest exits and oxygen masks for a mass shooting? What kind of knowledge should I possess in order to best protect myself from a mass shooting? I wondered that myself when I stumbled upon gunviolencearchive.org. The website gives you access to information about any and all gun-related incidents in the US since 2014. What I discovered to be most interesting on the website was its information on mass shootings. Gun Violence Archive defines a mass shooting as an incident involving a gun and 4 or more people. Regardless of whether the victims were killed or injured or neither, if there were 4 or more people involved it is counted as a mass shooting.

I decided to do some data analysis on the mass shootings from April 2016 to April 2017 (there were 451 of them). The results of this analysis were very telling. For instance, the most common months for mass shootings are the summer months–June, July, and August. The most common days of the week for mass shootings are the weekend–Saturday and Sunday. I was not aware of these facts, but it didn’t totally surprise me.

Body Armor + Knowledge = Safety

Though it didn’t surprise me, it was a call to action. When I am headed out the door, I need to assess the risks associated with my planned activities. Knowing when a mass shooting is more likely to occur gives me the power to better protect myself, but, my best protection is taking action based on my acquired knowledge. You don’t buy body armor in the hopes of using it, but you buy it in case you have to use it.

At the end of the day, you cannot control when, where, or how a mass shooting will occur. Someday you may get caught in a bad situation on a Wednesday in the middle of Winter–you never know. That is why body armor provides the ultimate protection. Body armor plus knowledge creates the perfect ability to stay alive in a risky and perhaps deadly situation.

Bring Rex BackImage result for safety

Back in the 1940s, The cartoon character Rex Riley was created to inspire US airmen to stay safe. Rex Riley’s purpose was to spread messages of safety, but ultimately to save lives. Safety and protection are just as necessary now as they were to the airmen of the 1940s. In today’s world where shootings are happening every single day, we also need Rex Riley to remind us to “Keep Calm and Get your Safety On.” Let’s use our tools, like knowledge and body armor, to be like Rex and save lives. Let’s bring Rex back.

 

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Is Body Armor Legal for Civilian Use?

Civilian Body Armor Legal?

Is body armor legal for regular people?  Ballistic body armor has had a certain stigma surrounding it for a long time as an item only military and law enforcement are able to obtain.  Some people wonder “Why would you even want body armor?”.
The truth is, you are more likely to be struck by lightning than be attacked by an active shooter, but that doesn’t mean it can’t happen.  Just ask anyone from Ohio State University, Orlando, San Bernardino, Colorado Springs, Roseburg, Chattanooga, Charleston, Isla Vista, Ft. Hood, Aurora and too many others to list them all. Continue reading Is Body Armor Legal for Civilian Use?

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Texas School Shootings on the Rise

Are School and Child involved Shootings on the Rise?

School is starting up again soon and with it comes the excitement of a new teacher and a new classroom. These are important aspects of the lives of our children. We want school to be an ever-positive experience, yet we keep hearing that schools are becoming more dangerous. We decided to find out if this claim is true. The graph below shows our findings. We plotted all  school and child involved shootings for the past 3 years in the state of Texas. Our findings show that school shootings are, in fact, on the rise. The jump between the 2014-2015 school year to the 2015-2016 school year is not as dramatic. There was a 37% increase. But the jump between the 2015-2016 school year and the 2016-2017 school year almost doubled with incidents: there was an 89% increase.

Texas shootings chart

It’s safe to say that we all felt pretty certain that things were getting worse, but such a significant increase in violence between the past two years is beyond alarming. We have spent time worrying, but maybe now it’s time to take action.

What Can We Do?

There are options for possible measures we can take to protect our children and help their school experiences remain positive. First off, we should arm ourselves with information. Citizen Armor has created a video series and a written report, both of which contain suggestions from the Department of Homeland Security about what to do in an active shooter situation. These mediums give valuable information for how to protect us and our children without becoming paranoid.

Information is a very important tool, but we also need to consider methods of physical protection. Citizen Armor has a perfect product for protecting our children while at school: the backpack insert.

back pack insert
Backpack Shield Insert (click for information)

Backpack Insert (with optional GPS Tracker)

gps child traccker
GPS Child Tracker

This product is simply a bulletproof piece of material that slides easily into any backpack. The material harnesses the ballistic potential of carbon nanotubes, which makes the insert ultra-lightweight and flexible. The armor insert is less than 1/4 inch thick and weighs about a pound. It is available in Threat Level II and Level IIIA. With this tool we can train our children to use their backpacks as a protective shield.

Citizen Armor will also be introducing a new protective product soon: a GPS Tracker. This tool will be the perfect way to always know precisely where our children are, at any time. With this tracker, we can teach our children to always flee from a scene of danger since we will be able to find exactly where they are. We never have to find ourselves frantically searching for our children around the neighborhood while a gunman is on the loose. The tracker can be integrated into the shield or used independently.

The increase in school and child related violence is too dramatic to simply sit still and worry–we need to do something to protect our children. The time has come to get informed and take protective measures for our children. We can all benefit from the peace of mind that protection provides.

What cities are the most dangerous?

Click on the state link below to see per capita statistics for shootings by city:

AL   AR   CA   CN   FL   GA   IL   IN   KS   LA   MD   MI   MN   MS   MO   NJ   NY   NC   OH   PA   SC   TN   TX   VA   WA

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Rotten Hard Candy and Soft Body Armor.

The Story of Hard Candy

A friend told me a funny story recently that has an important application to body armor. Eight years ago, my friend and his wife were helping his mother-in-law prepare for a move. When they came to her food storage they found 3 or 4 #10 cans of hard candy that were over 30 years old. 

The mother-in-law adamantly explained that she bought that hard candy because, when times were rough, the hard candy could be used as a method of currency. She could use it for bartering.  When my friend suggested to her that they open  one of the #10 cans, she exclaimed that sugar does not go bad. My friend was  not so sure, so he opened one. What he found inside was a black mess he compared to tar. Hm, not so appetizing. As you can imagine, the tins of candy got added to the pile of stuff to take to the dump.

Now, fast forward to just a few days ago. The mother-in-law is now living with my friend and his wife. They were helping her “dejunk”  the other day to stay prepared for “the inevitable”. They were surprised to discover one of the #10 cans that they thought had been thrown out. When asked, my friend’s mother-in-law admitted to sneaking one tin away and had kept it ever since.

Peace of Mind

My friend was laughing as he said to me, “Why? Why on Earth did she keep that nasty, totally unusable candy?” We decided together that she didn’t keep that tin because she wanted the candy, of course not. She sneaked that tin away from the trash pile because it represents something to her that we all seek: peace of mind.

I mean, honestly–that candy was already rotten eight years ago, but she still kept it until just a few days ago. They brought all the other expired food and worthless junk to the dump and that was fine with her. She just could not let go of the candy. When you think about it, it makes sense. It may not be a #10 can of candy, but I keep around stuff that symbolizes peace of mind for me. I’ve come to understand that her behavior wasn’t unreasonable–we all latch on to things that give us a feeling of security.

The Real Strength of Soft Body Armor

Body armor is becoming more and more popular because it is starting to be seen as a necessity. People want peace of mind. Just as my friend’s mother-in-law wanted to keep that candy because, for her, it was a symbol of being able to make it through a hard time, so it is with body armor. You never know when you will need to barter with candy to keep food on the table, and you also never know when you will need to be protected because you find yourself in a dangerous situation. We cannot ever know exactly when, but it is becoming more and more likely that it will happen to us. Just like she needed the candy, we need the body armor, to give us that treasured peace of mind.

Our body armor is state-of-the-art protection that provides real security. It will give you real peace of mind.

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De-Escalation Training for Local Police Saves Lives.

SLC Police Department De-Escalation Training

A friend showed me a video the other day that really struck me. The video gave information about a de-escalation training program implemented by the Salt Lake City Police Department to reduce the number of police involved fatal shootings. The training teaches the officers to create distance between he/she and the criminal in order to buy time. The extra time helps both parties to calm down and think more rationally.  The training is working; the Salt Lake City Police Department hasn’t had any fatal shootings in over a year.

Maybe you feel skeptical about this training–I did, too. I always hear reports of Utah being one of the safest places in America. I decided to look up some stats about Salt Lake. According to areavibes.com, Salt Lake City has an F Rating for crime.  There are 27.91 crimes committed per 100,000 people daily in Salt Lake. That is pretty grim when we compare it to the likes of Detroit (16.04 daily crimes per 100,000 people) and Chicago (10.55 daily crimes per 100,000 people). Crime in Salt Lake is right there with the other dangerous cities of the US, and definitely on the rise.

Buying Time

So how does this de-escalation training work? One of the most important aspect of the  department’s new  training is buying time. This is the core of the training because those few seconds save lives. Those few seconds allow the officer (and offender) to detach themselves from the situation and consider viable options for ending the conflict. It takes training, though. For example, in the video (see link below) the officer stays behind his car door for the first few seconds, not only to create a barrier that could act as a shield, but also to force him to “give ground” between him and the offender.

This distance is how the officer buys time to calm down and behave more rationally. The human instinct in these moments of danger is to act quickly and impulsively. That is why there are so many fatalities. Both parties feel vulnerable and therefore, more often than not, shots are fired. But because the officers are being trained to create distance and buy time, there are fewer fatal shootings.

Body Armor: Enabling Rational Rather Than Impulsive Behavior

Although the video didn’t address body armor, it’s something that really gives you a leg up in high-stress crisis situations. Just like how the officer uses the car to give ground and buy time, body armor can accomplish the same thing. You feel more confident in body armor to act rationally in a crisis situation. That confidence buys you time, and though it only makes a few seconds difference, that is all the time you need to transition from an impulse-based to a rational-based plan of action. If you are in a dangerous situation, but know you are protected with body armor, your brain will not be overloaded with thoughts of vulnerability. That protection is key to buying yourself time to act rationally in a crisis and walk away with the least amount of fatalities and injuries possible.

 

SLC De-Escalation Training Video (Twitter)

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Active Shooter Situation – What Do You Do Now?

Active shooter situations are terrifying.  This short article is not meant to inspire fear or paranoia,  but simple guidelines for any emergency.  These tips will help you be more aware of everyday life so you can be prepared.

– Situational Awareness –

Situational awarenessBeing ready for an active shooter situation means being aware of your surroundings at all times.
The US Coast Guard defines situational awareness as “The ability to identify, process and comprehend the critical elements of information about what is happening … More simply, it’s knowing what is going on around you”.
According to Jeff Cooper’s Color Code taught by law enforcement instructors, situational awareness is condition Yellow: be aware of who and what is around you and pay attention to sights and sounds surrounding you, whether at home or in society.  This does not mean live your life in a constant state of fear, just be alert.  If you are attacked while in condition Yellow, it will not come as a total surprise.

Potential Barriers to Situational Awareness

  • Perception – don’t let past experiences, expectations or mental filters affect your awareness
  • Excessive Motivation – this includes “Get-Home-itis”.  Don’t take unnecessary risks to accomplish another task.  Remember the scene from Bambi, when the quail gets over-excited and flies away only to get shot, while the ones who hide stay safe?  That poor quail was excessively motivated
  • Complacency – if things are monotonous or slow, it can be easy to fall into complacency.  Stay aware at all times
  • High Stress – too much stress affects everything you do.  Be careful to prioritize tasks by level of importance and minimize distractions
  • Fatigue – not enough rest can affect you the same way as too much stress.  Make sure to be as well rested as possible each day
  • Communication – this is key to working as a team.  Being situationally aware means communicating with your environment, not your phone.

Remember to stay awake and unplug when you can.  Keep track of people walking behind you.  Choose a seat in a restaurant with a clear view of the entrance.  Know where the emergency exits are.  Be aware of any environment you put yourself into.  Take note of any potential dangers.  If you’re by yourself, it’s probably best to not be completely captivated by your phone.  Any new environment you enter, look for at least two different exits, remember where they are and multiple routes to get there

– Mental/Physical Preparation –

evacuation diagram

When you realize those loud POP’S are actually gunshots, your adrenaline will surge and your thinking capacity will be diminished.  If you haven’t prepared yourself mentally and physically for an emergency, you’ll likely make some unnecessary mistakes.  Know your environment.  It might seem to border on paranoia, but the next time you’re at work, or school, imagine a shooter entering your area.  What would you do?  It’s much better to have a well-rehearsed advance plan than to make one up in the midst of all the chaos of being shot at.

self defense trainingAccording to the FBI, most active shooter situations are over in two minutes or less which means that you need to know how to take care of yourself during the 10-15 minutes it takes law enforcement to arrive.  DO NOT succumb to the normality bias, a mental crutch that makes people underestimate danger during a disaster.  Nobody wants to be in an active shooter situation, so unless you’re mentally awake, you might deceive yourself into thinking those gunshots are only a car backfiring and hesitate to act.  The more prepared you are mentally and physically, the better chance you and others have of survival.

Anyone who has already witnessed traumatic events may remember the adrenaline rush accompanied by a surreal or “dream” feeling, like what they saw wasn’t really happening.  Be as prepared and practiced as possible in what to do for various emergency situations and environments so that if/when the time comes you’ll do what you need to survive and/or help others without succumbing to shock.

True Story

Personally, I witnessed a tragic car accident on the freeway about two years ago when driving with my family.  A car crossed four lanes of traffic and slammed into the median, only to be hit again by an SUV in the carpool lane.  We were driving in the passing lane and had to slam on the brakes to avoid hitting the car again.  Once we stopped, I looked around and saw that nobody was getting out to help, which I remember thinking was really strange.

I got out and ran up to the man in the car, remembering something I had heard about not moving him unless there was imminent danger because of possible back or neck injuries.  I started talking to him while on the phone with 911 to try and get a response but, sadly, I watched the man take his last breath.  A few moments later an  Army officer ran around the other side of the car shouting that the car was on fire.  Another man came to help and although three of the doors were smashed shut, we were able to free the man in the car through the rear passenger door and get his body to safety.  All this happened while a fire was burning in the engine bay less than a foot from where I was standing.  Needless to say, my adrenaline was pumping the whole time.

Stress Affects Judgement

I don’t share this story for any reason other than to illustrate what just a little bit of preparation will do to positively affect our actions.  I’m pretty sure everyone else was in shock at seeing such a violent accident, I know my kids were.  If the three of us hadn’t had some small amount of mental preparation, we might have just sat in our cars like many others, staring in disbelief.  If we hadn’t made being physically fit a priority, we might not have been able to pull him out of the car.  Being prepared mentally and physically for any emergency situation will help decrease any potential mistakes that could be made in a moment of panic.  If there is ever an active shooter situation that you find yourself in, and are not somewhat prepared for it, you might find yourself paralyzed, staring in disbelief.

– How to React to an Active Shooter –

Active Shooter

The Department of Homeland Security advises three steps during an active shooter situation:

Running from shooter

RUN.  Unless you have specialized trainingi.e. military, police, etc., you should try to run first.  You should already know where multiple exits are based on your situational awareness.  Choose the safest one and get away from the shooter as fast as possible. Bring as many people with you to safety as you can.  Chances are you’ll see others who are paralyzed with fear, help them if possible but make sure to get home to your family as well

Hiding from shooterHIDE.  If running is not an option, and there is a place that would provide protection from a shooter with a door that can be locked or barricaded, get as many people there as you can.  Once you have barricaded the door, hide behind large items that will offer protection.  Remain quiet and silence all cell phones.  Turn off the lights and call 911.  Give a description and location of the shooter(s), their weapon(s), and possible victims.  If you are unable to speak, turn down the earpiece volume on your phone and let the dispatcher hear what is going on.  Quickly devise a backup plan if the attacker is able to enter the room.

Attacking shooterFIGHT.  If you are not able to run and hide, fighting or dying might be your only two options.  In a situation like this, it is important to remember that if you’re going to get shot, you better make sure nobody else will, especially if you are responsible for the lives of others.  Remember the shooting on the train from Amsterdam to France in 2015?  No? Because thanks to three Americans, two Frenchmen and a Briton, the shooter was taken down and knocked unconscious, saving the rest of the passengers.  CNN also covered a story of teachers who have been given specialized training by Krav Maga instructors on how to team up and take down active shooters in their schools.  If this training is available, you should take full advantage of it.

Time to Channel Your Inner Caveman

Apart from having special Krav Maga or military training, taking down an attacker is still possible by using whatever is available to you, especially when done with a team.  Attack from different angles.  Look around for items to throw at the shooter.  Paper weights and hot coffee pots would be quite effective.  Blind the shooter with spray from a fire extinguisher or bright light.  Maybe a rolling file cabinet or tool chest could provide mobile protection or be used as a battering ram.  Be creative.

Once you are close enough, grab the barrel to control the gun first, then worry about controlling the shooter.  Stab the shooter with a pen or knock them out with a laptop.  Remember, a life or death situation is no time to hold back.  Attack with all your strength and animal instinct.  Our society is built on laws to protect us, but our ancestors had to use violence to protect their families.  This is a time to do the same.  If you are in an area where concealed carry is an option, use your weapon wisely and neutralize the threat.

Here Come the Cavalry

Police arrive to take down active shooterOnce police do arrive, make sure to remain calm and quickly comply with every order.  They may push you to the ground, not to be rude, but for your safety.  If you’re holding an item, drop it and raise your hands with fingers spread.  Don’t run to or cling onto police officers for safety.  The first group in isn’t there to rescue you, it’s there to take down the shooter.  Other rescue teams will follow closely behind to help you to safety.  Don’t scream and point at officers.  Don’t ask them for directions, just leave the way you saw them enter.  Remember to help others whenever possible.

An active shooter could be one of the most frightening things we would ever have to deal with.  Being totally unprepared for an active shooter would be even more frightening.  If you learned something new by reading this article, please take action to implement these principles into your life.  They just might save it.

Contact Citizen Armor for your body armor needs.

References

Cooper’s Colors.  Retrieved from: https://www.policeone.com/police-trainers/articles/2188253-Coopers-colors-A-simple-system-for-situational-awareness/

Department of Homeland Security.  Retrieved from: https://www.dhs.gov/xlibrary/assets/active_shooter_booklet.pdf

Teachers Shooter Defense Training.  Retrieved from: http://www.cnn.com/2013/09/30/living/schools-teacher-shooter-defense-training/

US Coast Guard. Retrieved from: https://www.uscg.mil/auxiliary/training/tct/chap5.pdf