Personal Safety Tips and Active Shooter: Cover vs. Concealment
Cover vs. Concealment
In any active shooter situation, reaching an exit may not always be an option. Assessing the situation and making the decision will be situational and up to you. If getting to an exit is no longer an option, finding cover will be critical.
Understanding the difference between Cover vs. Concealment is essential because both can be helpful when applied correctly.
Cover is anything – like a tree, a concrete wall, a heavy planter box, a room where one can shelter in place – that can slow or stop a bullet. Cover is something that can physically protect you.
Concealment is anything that can hide you, but not necessarily protect you from a bullet.
If you cannot reach COVER, Concealment, or hiding, may save your life.
Concealment might be between some heavy curtains and the windows in a boardroom, or under a desk with the chair pulled in closely. Look around right now and think of where a good hiding place would be.
Should this topic cause us to be anxious or paranoid? No. Stay relaxed and aware. Understand that an active shooter situation is statistically unlikely to happen, but just in case, you have your plan of action tucked away in your back pocket.
Besides identifying cover and concealment elements, we must always be aware of our exits and know where they lead, no matter where we are.
Be sure the exit is NOT LOCKED. This occurred at a recent shooting at a Costco. Patrons ran for well-marked exits, only to find them locked when they got there.
When I’m at a client’s office, I always have someone walk me to all the viable exits relevant to where I’ll be during the day.
I ask if I may open the exit to be sure it is unlocked. I need to see where it leads and if it can be BLOCKED from outside, for example, with a wheeled dumpster or a vehicle, etc., with the intent of trapping people inside during an active shooting.
Taking the few extra minutes to get familiar with the exits is important because doing so builds muscle memory. This muscle memory is important because in the event of a crisis, the resulting “adrenaline dump” makes it harder to think clearly. This is not the time to wonder where the working exits are.
Make it a habit to quickly scan your surroundings and identify exits, concealment, and cover.
Condition Yellow– Relaxed yet aware and prepared.
Resource: Active Shooter. Ready.gov