'Tools to survive': How to have a plan you hope to never use

LAS VEGAS, NV - OCTOBER 01: People run from the Route 91 Harvest country music festival after apparent gun fire was hear on October 1, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by David Becker/Getty Images)

STOUGHTON, Mass. — In the wake of mass shootings, more and more organizations are asking: do you know what to do if you find yourself in that scenario?

The scenario has been repeated more times than we’d like to admit.

Vik Solem, president of Stoughton’s MEI Security, says the line between making it out or not can depend on what he calls “situational awareness.”

“Whenever you enter any public place you want to make sure you’ve looked around to locate your exits for you and your family,” said Solem.

MORE: Tewksbury mother: Las Vegas shooting ripped apart 'the perfect little family'

In hotel rooms, examine the exit map; in a movie theater, position yourself close to a door; in a restaurant, sit near to the kitchen -- where an exit and defensive tools are accessible.

That last piece of advice comes from ‘Alerrt’ at Texas State University.  There, a training course has been developed to teach people to “alert, avoid, defend.”

In Las Vegas, many witnesses say they sounded the alarm to warn others immediately.

Alerrt says the next step is to avoid the shooter, creating a barrier or taking cover.

It’s something many got right on Sunday.

As a last resort, Alerrt says you may have to defend yourself. And they say if you do, you should use anything at your disposal -- office supplies, kitchen gadgets, personal items.

Solem says having a plan you’ll likely never have to use can give you a sense of preparedness.

“Don’t let things like this stop you from living your life,” he said. “Have tools in your toolbox that help you survive and clear yourself out of any emergency situation.”

Solem also says you can teach children to become aware of their surroundings using ‘I Spy’ type games.

For adults, Alerrt has created a training video.

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