Responding to Emergency Events Such as an Active Shooter

In light of the recent terrorist attacks in Paris, the following guidelines will be helpful in case you ever find yourself victim of a similar active shooter style attack. Such an incident can happen anywhere in the world, including the United States or Trinidad and Tobago.

In the event of such an attack, you must quickly determine for yourself the most reasonable course of action to protect your own life. There are three courses of action possible; doing nothing is not one of them:

Run

  • This comes down to awareness of your surroundings; if an attack begins, and you see an accessible and relatively safe escape route, take it immediately.
  • If you are carrying anything that may slow your escape, drop it immediately.
  • If possible, help others escape with you.
  • Once clear of the scene, do not allow others to blindly enter the area where the active shooter is located. Alert the authorities as soon as possible.

Hide

  • If it is absolutely impossible to run, attempt to locate a hiding place where it is less likely that an active shooter will locate you. Remember to silence any cell phones or other devices that may make noise or show light, as they may give away your location.
  • Do your best to locate a hiding place that conceals you from view of the active shooter and provides some sort of substantial object that provides protection in case someone fires shots in your direction. If you are hiding in a room with a locking door, lock it and barricade the door with furniture or whatever else may be available for such use. The hiding place should also not restrict your options for movement.
  • Minimize noise and try to remain calm if the active shooter is near your location. If you are on the telephone with law enforcement authorities and cannot speak, leave the line open to allow those on the other end of the line to hear what is going on near you.

Fight

  • Fighting is an absolute last resort and only if you cannot run or hide and only if your life is in imminent danger. If you must resort to this course of action, commit with every fiber in your being, be as aggressive as possible, and use whatever improvised weapons are available to incapacitate the active shooter.

See the State Department’s travel website for the Worldwide Caution,Travel Warnings, Travel Alerts, and Country Specific Information. Read the Country Specific Information for Trinidad and Tobago. For additional information, refer to “A Safe Trip Abroad” on the State Department’s Web site.

We strongly recommend that U.S. citizens traveling to or residing in Trinidad and Tobago enroll in the Department of State’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) or https://tt.usembassy.gov. STEP enrollment gives you the latest security updates, and makes it easier for the U.S. embassy or nearest U.S. consulate to contact you in the event of an emergency. If you don’t have internet access, you can enroll in person at the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate.

Contact the U.S. embassy or consulate for up-to-date information on travel restrictions. You can also call 1 888 407 4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada or 1 202 501 4444 from other countries. These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays). Follow us on Twitter and Facebook, and download our free Smart Traveler iPhone App (http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/smart-traveler/id442693988?mt=8) to have travel information at your fingertips.

The U.S. Embassy in Port of Spain is located at 15 Queen’s Park West, Port of Spain. Routine services are by appointment only. To schedule your appointment, please visit https://tt.usembassy.gov, emailacspos@state.gov or call 868 622 6371. U.S. citizens in Trinidad and Tobago who need emergency services should call the Embassy at 868 622 6371 for assistance.