How to Survive a Mass Shooting and More Common Disasters

Sadly, it's a fear that modern life has taught us to carry around...

Whether we're catching a movie, having dinner at a local restaurant, or part of any gathering of folks, events like the recent attacks in Paris and San Bernardino force us to look around and wonder... What if it happened to me?

According to Mass Shooting Tracker, a crowdsourced database, the U.S. has experienced more than 1,000 shootings in the past three years in which four or more people have been hurt or killed.

This map of these mass shootings looks ominous...

Mass shootings

[Source: Vox, using data from Mass Shooting Tracker]

But don't panic... Most of those events were mundane crimes. Random mass shootings like in the one in San Bernardino that killed 14 people at a holiday party haven't increased much in number over the past two decades.

These events are extraordinarily rare... and should not change the way you live.

However, there's no doubt, this is an emotional – and politically charged – topic. And the best way to ease these kinds of fears is to understand simple steps you can take to protect yourself.

You'll likely never face this kind of event. But if you visit a theater or mall over the holidays and find your mind harboring these fears... remind yourself of a few simple tactics that can help you survive.

Being prepared for something like this is why I wrote a book called The Doctor's Protocol Field Manual. Here's what I wrote about shootings:

If you are in a public area and someone starts shooting, try to evacuate if at all possible.

If you cannot escape, lie down on the floor, face down. Point your feet in the direction of the shooter. Turn your head away and cover it with your hands. This will reduce the size of your target profile. And it will minimize the likelihood of a bullet hitting any of your vital organs.

Again, remember that despite the recent flurry of high-profile incidents, it's unlikely you will ever need to utilize this technique. The odds of getting caught up in a mass shooting incident are astoundingly low. Nonetheless, it is important information to know.

But as frightening as the threat of a mass shooting is, there are "mundane" disasters you also need to be prepared for.

The Disaster You Are Likely to Face is Probably Mundane

I hope you never have to deal with a serious disaster...

But over a lifetime, it's likely that you will.

If you're part of the tiny percentage of Americans who NEVER experience a real crisis in their lives, consider yourself one of the lucky ones.

But more than likely, you will face a significant crisis at least once in your lifetime. The type will probably be more mundane than a shooting or terrorist attack... but no less threatening to your survival. Health emergencies, house fires, and accidents are far more common than mass shootings, and they require at least as much preparation.

One of the things that happens when a crisis strikes is "negative panic." We've written about negative panic in Retirement Millionaire before, but here's how to keep it from literally killing you in a disaster...

Despite what you may think, during times of chaos, most people don't panic and run amok... They freeze. Researchers refer to this response as negative panic.

It's an involuntary, and often very dangerous, response. It's what happens... despite what you see on television and in the movies.

In a real-world crisis, most people lose all ability to make rational decisions. They become statues and do little – or nothing – to escape a life-threatening situation.

That's why disaster plans and drills are so important. They train people to fight negative panic and react in a way that saves lives.

As I mentioned above, to help you plan for the most common disasters you're likely to face, I wrote a special emergency-preparedness book...

The Doctor's Protocol Field Manual teaches you how to be self-reliant and take care of yourself and your family in the event of any crisis.

I wrote the book so you can make the correct decisions in crisis situations if you aren't prepared... situations that could destroy your money, your family, and your future.

For example, you'll discover...

  • A special breathing technique to calm you (used by the military and FBI).
  • The drug you must have at home (and how to get it).
  • A little device that makes clean water (and fits in your back pocket).
  • A first-aid and emergency-supplies kit list (including four surprising items).
  • A clever $10 tool to thwart burglars (that's cheaper and safer than guns).

My hope is, with this information, you'll sleep well at night knowing you can take care of your family in any situation. It's that simple.

The Field Manual is already available to Retirement Millionaire subscribers as an electronic book. (If you're not yet a subscriber, you can join here.)

And if you'd like a physical book for your home or for a loved one, you can get a hard copy here.

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What We're Reading...

  • The FBI recommends this rubric for surviving a mass shooting: Run, Hide, Fight (video and transcript).
  • offers dozens of ways to prepare and plan for disasters. Please note: The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) maintains this website. I cannot endorse all of its prescribed solutions. We've all witnessed the government mishandle too many crises to trust it to do the right thing. But this website is a good place to start with a number of brochures and guides.

Here's to our health, wealth, and a great retirement,

Dr. David Eifrig and the Retirement Millionaire Daily Research Team

December 17, 2015