At one time or another, we all have been or worked in an environment where we are not allowed to carry a handgun. That place may be for some of us, a workplace, school, or a visit to a government building. Where I work, not only am I not allowed to carry a handgun because of the workplace rules, but it is illegal, as well.
While many workplaces may have plans in order to keep their employees or visitors safe, they probably don’t practice it more than a couple of times a year. We know that it takes more than a few times a year to make training more than just a plan of action, and turn it into a second nature response. At the end of the day, we only have ourselves to depend on.
What are some ways that we can protect ourselves when we are in these non-permissive environments? The first thing I would say to do is look at where you are in this environment. Are you on the first floor or the tenth floor? Does your office have solid core doors or hollow ones? And which direction do they swing, in or swing out? Do you have a bookcase that can be moved to block the door? Is your desk made of wood or metal, and can it be moved? Or, is it fixed to the floor?
After you have looked at your office or workplace, now you need to make what I call a tactical room layout plan or (TRLP). In your TRLP place objects like bookcases and desks in a way so that they give you the most cover and concealment from incoming fire.
After you have made your TRLP, it's time to see what you can do to give yourself the most time, because the more time we have, the more likely we are going to survive. What are some ways we can create more time? First, lock the door; even a hollow core door will give you a sec or two more than an unlocked door. Barricade the door with a bookcase or desk to give the door an armor.
If your door does not lock, you should invest in one of the security bars that keep the door closed and locked when you jam it into the door. You can also take a simple door wedge and shove it up under the door; this will also keep the door shut. Remember, you want to make it hard for the threat to get to you, and the longer it takes for them to get in, the longer you have to get out or make a stand.
Now it's time to look at improvised weapons that we can use to protect ourselves. Gun free zones are so safe for everyone-- maybe we can just politely ask for the gunman to stop... So, how are you to protect yourself? You need to look at what you can and cannot have in your office or workplace. You might want to look at keeping a simple tool box with tools in it. Not only can the tools like a screwdriver or hammer be used a weapon, but they do come in handy when you have to fix or put something together.
Since many workplaces have sports teams, you could put a golf club or softball bat in your closet or corner, and it probably wouldn't be questioned.
A fire extinguisher can be a great weapon. First, you can squirt the foam into the threat's eyes, temporarily blinding them. Next, take the fire extinguisher and use it as a blunt force object by hitting the threat in the face with the bottom of the extinguisher.
Pens can be a great improvised weapon. In fact, there are places where you can get training on how to use a pen for self-defense. Now, you don’t need a fancy pen designed for this task, but it does not hurt to have one. My pen is a guardian pen made from 4140 aircraft aluminum. When people see it, they ask what I have that for, and I reply it is my orthopedic pen that helps with my arthritis in my hand. They don’t question anymore, and I don’t reveal it is for self-defense. It's a clever way to hide what it is in plain sight.
An escape plan will be determined based on where you are in your office or workplace. If you are on the first floor, clearly it's easier to escape than being on the tenth floor. On the first floor, I would say go out a window, if you have one. If there's no window, then you will have to determine if it would be safe to make your way to an emergency door or secondary entrance/exit.
First, it's important to listen. Are there shots being fired? Which direction are they coming from? Are they distant or close? Next, try to see the threat without him seeing you. If the threat is on the other side of the building, then I would run to the door, however, if you can not see the threat, then it is better to stay where you are, where you know it is safe.
Now, what do you do if you aren't on the first floor? If you know the threat is on a lower floor, then stay where you are. If the threat is on the floor above you, then I would get to the bottom floor and exit the building as quickly and quietly as I could.
What if you can not leave? Many buildings have fire escapes on the outside, if you can get to it, use it. The other option is to get a fire ladder that you can keep, and when needed, you just open the window or bust it out, and throw the ladder so you can climb down. Just a note, if you go this way, make sure you get a ladder that allows you to climb all the way down to the ground. You may have to have one made if you can not find one. Here is one from Home Depot.
You can use anything as an improvised weapon. A pen, scissors, and even a heavy book can be a great weapon to defend yourself. Remember, always be aware, be safe, make a plan and train that plain. Here is a video from the Best Defense TV show that has great information and tips.
A Second Amendment Advocate