LAS VEGAS -- The mass shootings at Sandy Hook school in Connecticut, a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado, and now the Navy Yard in Washington D.C. show this kind of violence can happen anywhere.
The best thing a person can do to be protected in these situations is to be prepared. That was part of the discussion at a conference at UNLV Tuesday focusing on workplace violence.
According to one former Metro Police officer, what a person does in a 7 second period can mean the difference in surviving a violent incident.
"Violence changes your life. You will never live the same after you've been exposed to something like that," said Sandy Seda, assistant chief of police for UNLV.
Former Marines and Seda, helped organize the first public safety symposium at UNLV aimed at preventing work place violence. Seda and other experts stress the importance of companies setting up action plans for employees in case of an emergency. Mock drills similar to what police officers do as well as teaching people to stay calm in the face of danger and to be alert for unusual behavior from potential attackers.
"Err on the side of safety and I am sure you will come out on top," said former Metro Police officer Christopher Curtis.
He said, he's learned it only takes a person about 7 seconds to sense if they are in danger. Curtis said utilize the three B's: barrier, buffer and broadcast.
"Barrier means putting something like a car between you and the attacker, and if there's no physical barrier, then create as much buffer or space between the assailant as possible and if forced to face your attacker, broadcast your threat. Yell and make noise to get people's attention," Curtis said. "Don't be frozen by fear. Being well trained, you are going to respond the way you are supposed to respond."
Other safety advice from the conference includes being aware of emergency exits to buildings and having phone numbers of police and family members handy in case you need to reach them during or after an attack.
The Center for Personal Protection and Safety which helped organize the event says there are usually warning signs before a person becomes violent. One red flag is a big loss such as getting fired or a divorce. Also watch for a change in personality or behaviors. In addition, people tend to vocalize their threats before an attack either to their loved ones or on social media.