Airport Shooting: What NOT to do?

As I headed to the check-in counter I couldn’t help but smile. I could visualize Cuba and it’s white beaches. I could feel the soft sand under my feet as I’d make my way to its teal waters. In two hours, on a quick 45 min flight from Fort Lauderdale airport I’d be there. Ah paradise I thought to myself.

Thoughts of my near future came to an abrupt halt. I heard a bang, running feet and panicked voices. One woman said “there’s a shooter in our terminal!” It happened so fast I barely had time to understand. Gun shots had been fired at our terminal and I turned to see paralyzed looks on people’s faces. Panic set in. The first thing I thought was “where’s the shooter?” I looked up and saw a man outside our terminal doors. I froze but my rational shoved my emotions aside.

So what would you do when people are screaming and you actually hear gunshots? The normal reaction is to run and/or to alert everyone else by shouting it out. The result however = more chaos. The absolute worst thing you can do is start running or screaming. Like attracts like. It’s already a chaotic situation that kind of behavior will add more fear, stress and anxiety to the scene. It typically results in hoards if people stampeding out of a room which can cause harm to innocent people.

So what do you do? Be still. (Say what, Juanita??) Yes, I’ll say it again, be still.

What you should do at this point is a mental check to self: stay calm self and alert loved ones or other travelers calmly. Keyword “calmly.”

It is completely normal to feel panicked but how you handle your panic makes a difference for the greater good of everyone including yourself. Remember that. If you actually think a shooting is going on in the same room , do not move but get down to the ground. Avoid bullets being fired into the open or ricocheting bullets.

In my experience, we could actually see the shooter, who happened to be outside. If I had been reactive instead or proactive I might’ve run an added to an already anxious + scary situation.

We often hear the phrase “war on terrorism.” Acts such as this shooting are a war on peace and civility. Think of soldiers during war. Many have experienced seeing or hearing bombs + shootings. However, they respond by following a plan of action that effectively keeps them safe while defending themselves. So when group safety is threatened, what should you do?

  1. Be still
  2. Alert others around you calmly
  3. Get down on the ground or move to a safe room

Last thought I will leave you with. In such instances everyone Call 9-1-1 back to back. If you are in any area where there are large number of people trust that multiple people have called. At this point phone lines become like clogged drains. Nonetheless if you still want to make sure authorities are alerted some call centers even allow texting to 9-1-1.

Stay safe on all your travels my beauties. After all far and distant lands are waiting to be graced with your presence. ;)