Crazy can’t even begin to describe what transpired in the United States Capitol. By now, you’ve probably heard or seen what happened in the United States. Supporters of President Donald Trump stormed the U.S. Capitol as members of the House and Senate were tallying the Electoral College votes. What is normally a peaceful certification has turned into chaos after the president called upon his followers to stop a Joe Biden win.
If there is a word that best describes the recent turn of events, it’s “dangerous.” You can throw in other adjectives such as “surreal,” “horrific,” and “embarrassing” but what struck some the most is how dangerous the actions of the mob were.
Now, we’re not going to dwell on the politics of this horrendous incident. We’ll focus instead on how these violent scenarios can break out and that our lives are at stake if we don’t know what to do. Such violent riots will not always end in positive results.
As a matter of fact, five people died during the bloody US Capitol siege. A 35-year-old woman and US Air Force veteran was shot as she and other rioters forced their way into the House Chamber. Sadly, she was pronounced dead at a hospital later. Three other casualties died due to unspecified medical emergencies. The fifth casualty is a Capitol police officer that suffered serious injuries and later died after reportedly being physically assaulted by rioters.
While we feel remorse for the loss of life and embarrassment as a nation for what happened, we should also look at this as a reminder that we need to be prepared in order to survive a siege, violent mobs and similar scenarios.
Prepare For Workplace Violence
Devise An Evacuation Plan
When we say workplace violence, we’re not talking about co-workers at each other’s throats though squabbles should also be addressed before they become violent. We’ll focus more on violent rioters forcing their way into your workplace like what happened at the Capitol Building.
Like in many instances, being prepared is a great way to prevent or survive any unfortunate event. Your office should have an emergency plan in place in case of disasters, both natural and man-made. If your office building regularly conducts fire drills, you should be glad and take them seriously. If not, you should suggest, no, demand it to your higher-ups.
Stay Tuned to the News
Once your office gets wind of a crowd mobilizing nearby, make sure someone is keeping tabs on what’s happening outside. You need to keep everyone, especially the bosses, up to date so you can quickly determine your next course of action. A fast decision will save lives. If the decision makers keep dillydallying, you may have to decide for yourself.
Determine the exact location of the mob and the general feeling within the crowd. Peaceful protests can quickly become violent. With tension building up, one small push of the button and everything will go crazy.
Develop Your Situational Awareness
Have you seen The Amazing Spiderman? The one with Andrew Garfield as Peter Parker? Remember the late Stan Lee’s librarian cameo in which he didn’t notice Spiderman and Lizard fighting and trashing the school? He had his earphones on and listening to music unaware of the ruckus. That is a prime example of a lack of situational awareness. It’s funny when you watch it but in real life, that is pretty dangerous.
The most important trick in developing situational awareness is pretty simple – don’t look down. Whether you’re in the office, at school, at home, or outside, you need to see everything and be wary of your surroundings.
Avoid looking down at your phone or book for long periods. When you’re at your desk, look up or stand up every once in a while to see what’s going on around you. People may be running right by you and you don’t know it.
Kick your other senses up a notch or two. Even if you’re not looking, you should get a grasp of what’s happening by using your ears and nose. The sound of people shouting and glass windows breaking along with the smell of smoke should give you an idea that’s something is wrong.
You can’t always depend on other people particularly office security to keep you safe. You should be able to spot danger just by looking around. When you’re about to face a violent mob, you can easily assume you’re in danger. But you need to be able to identify if a particular person is out to do something more than trespassing and vandalism.
Build Your Get Home Bag
When you are told to evacuate, you may not have time to gather all your belongings before you flee. You also need to be quick on your feet, especially if you’re trying to evade a violent crowd. Still, you may need some items to increase your chances of survival.
Enter the get home bag. If you’re not familiar with it yet, the get home bag is an emergency kit that should help you make your way back to your family. When something bad happens, like an earthquake or a terrorist attack, one of the first things you think about is checking on your family and getting back to them. The get home bag will help increase your chances of doing so.
The get home bag is similar to a bug out bag in the sense that it contains basic supplies and gear for your survival. One difference is that it contains far less than a bug out bag. That’s mainly because you need to get home as fast as possible and a heavy pack will make it more difficult for you to move around.
Once you’re evacuating, you could end up stuck in a crowd of people trying to escape. A huge bag will make it difficult for you to maneuver. That said, you need to choose its contents wisely.
Start with food and water. You need something that you can munch on quickly yet is full of much-needed nutrients to keep you healthy and energized. Energy bars are your best choice for sustenance when you need to be mobile all the time.
Keep a water bottle in your survival bag and make sure it’s always full. Water is more important than food since you’ll likely expire after three days without drinking water. Pack a personal water filter in case your water runs out and you can’t find a clean source nearby.
As for your survival gear, make sure you have a pocket knife or multi-tool or both. These two can be used as self-defense weapons among other functions. Other must-haves are flashlight, paracord, emergency whistle, signal mirror, and a small first aid kit.
A wireless solar charger will also come in handy. You want to stay in contact with your family as you inch your way closer to them. You’ll be glad you packed a solar charger in case your phone runs out of juice. A pair of running shoes should also be useful. Your work shoes may not be suitable for walking and running (in case you can’t drive home).
Make sure your get home bag is always within reach. You may only have a second to spare to grab your emergency kit before scooting out of your office.
When Workplace Is Under Siege
The members of the Senate and Congress were not the only ones whose lives were in danger during the assault. You also have the staff and security details. Who knows how many other innocent people were in the area when the violent mob forced their way in.
These people were simply doing their jobs when the siege happened. Understandably, many if not all of them were scared for their lives. There are reports that police authorities seized guns and other kinds of weapons from the rioters.
It’s easier said than done but you should avoid panicking during emergency situations. You need to be able to clear your mind after the initial shock when an angry mob or gunmen storms your workplace. You’re lucky if you have a security detail to protect you even if you’re having a panic attack.
Regular employees, however, will only have to depend on themselves and each other. This is where survival skills and tips come in. The more you know about surviving particular situations, the better your chances of coming out in one piece. Of course, you need to stay calm and collected for all these knowledge and skills to kick in.
Survey the Situation
Once you have settled down, you need to survey the situation. Understand the risk and figure out your best course of action. Determine where the perpetrators are and if they are extremely violent. If they’re only vandalizing and trashing the place, you’ll have a better chance of leaving unscathed. If they’re carrying weapons and hurting people, you have to take more drastic measures. Should you shelter in place, evacuate or fight for your life?
The farther you are from the threat, the safer you are. It’s that simple. If there’s still time to evacuate your office building, do so in an orderly manner. Remember your fire drill. If the authorities are there to assist in your evacuation, listen to them and obey what they say.
Once you’re out, don’t hang around to check out the rioters and the damages they have caused. Get as far away as possible but make sure you won’t encounter more protesters. You should be safe in your car as long as you can reach it without getting in deeper trouble. If it’s parked near the protesters, it’s better to just leave on foot.
Shelter In Place
If evacuating is not an option, experts recommend sheltering in place to survive a siege and other attacks in the workplace. That’s what they did inside the Capitol Building.
When the mob got inside, the first thing the politicians and other people inside did was to take cover behind the bulletproof chairs. They were also told to wear gas masks. They were then led to an undisclosed location where they stayed until it was deemed safe to come out. Other politicians and their staff hid in their offices ready to fight the mob if they got too close.
The Capitol Police also barricaded the room using chairs and whatever they could grab to keep the mob from advancing further. However, some of them managed to break through the doors.
If you have to shelter in place, you need to make sure the doors and windows are impenetrable. Like the Capitol Police, you have to block the entryways with whatever you can find. You should then hide in areas that are not within firing range in case a gunman shoots through the door.
When hiding and running away are no longer options, you may be forced to defend yourself from an angry mob. This is definitely possible if no one else, particularly the authorities, is there to protect you.
Not all rioters are there to inflict harm though mob mentality can easily sway them to violence. You should be able to spot those who intend to hurt. However, it would be better if you just assume that every person in the mob is out to hurt people. This will give you a little more sense of urgency in case the presence of angry protesters with guns and lead pipes is still not enough for you to take things seriously.
Obviously, you’re not allowed to carry guns and other weapons to work. Your best chance of defending yourself is by using a pepper spray and other non-lethal weapons. Some states allow people to carry pocket knives with blades up to three inches long. It’s enough for self-defense as long as you get proper training on how to use it. The same goes for tactical flashlights, tactical pens, and Kubotan chains. You need to know how to handle them so you can properly protect yourself and your co-workers.
When a violent mob forces their way into your office building, your main objective is to survive a siege. You don’t have to play the hero. It sounds great but if you can escape along with your co-workers then that is enough. Follow Gentleman Pirate Club for more life-saving tips.