Always be aware of your surroundings

Published 8:07 am Thursday, December 31, 2015

As I mentioned last week, in a self-defense situation, the first option you have in an active violence situation is to run.

Anytime you’re out, whether you’re at a mall, in school, in a government building or a movie theatre, you should always know your way out. You should always know the location of the quickest exit. This starts with always being aware of your surroundings.

If you can run or have to run, try to run in a zig-zag pattern away from the attacker. You want to run like you’re running from an alligator.

The next option is to hide.

If you’re in a place where you can turn the lights off, do so and get away from all the windows. If possible, push something in front of the door, preferably something heavy.

But, if you can’t run or you can’t hide, then you should practice self-defense, using your elbows, knees, fists, or any weapons you can find.

There are many forms of self-defense including our RAD and RadKids classes.

“Any sort of self-defense you can do may assist in your safety. The fight you always win is the one you’re never in,” said Officer Angie Lick, of Niles City Police and lead RAD instructor for the Niles Law Enforcement Complex.

Unlike certain crimes like robbery, arson or rape, the survivability in an active shooter situation can be determined by the behavior of the citizens involved.

When first responders show up, wait and follow their directions. This is for your safety because these situations evolve rapidly. There could be multiple suspects as was the case in the San Bernardino, California, shooting.

Trust your instincts.

If it doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t. If you see something, say something. This doesn’t make us paranoid, it makes us safe when we know where we are, constantly looking around, and being aware of our surroundings.

We at the Michigan State Police Niles Post hope your holiday season was a safe and joyous one.


Rob Herbstreith is a community service trooper with the Michigan State Police Niles post. Questions or comments can be emailed to