Movie Theater safety tips aren’t found in a lot of places, but maybe we need to change that. After some pretty serious incidents in crowded venues, what can you do to give yourself a better chance in an emergency? Where should you sit in a movie theater?
After the rash of movie theater shootings in 2015, it’s a good idea to think about these questions. It may never happen to you, but if it does, there is no primary defense quite as effective as being prepared. One of the most important things you should do anywhere you go is be aware of your surroundings. This applies to malls, parks, and even churches – anywhere where a lot of people gather together. Unfortunately, deranged killers love lots of targets, and that is what you don’t want to be.
Here are some tips that could help save your life if, God forbid, you ever end up in such a situation, where a psychopathic killer opens fire at the movie theater while you are in attendance.
Where to sit
Never sit close to the front. That is probably the worst place to sit in the entire house. In the worst mass shooting in Colorado history, the shooter was able to pick off his targets at the front of the theater, where the most light is from the screen, almost at leisure.
Instead, the best seat is in the back row, center section, and even better, the aisle seat. That is one of the darkest places in the house, but at the same time, usually affords you the best view of the entire house. No one can surprise you from behind when your back is to the wall, and at the very least, you can see the silhouette of anyone who rises from his seat during the movie.
Come in early enough to be sure you get the best seat, and observe those coming in and the others in the theater. Watch for anyone behaving unusually. Look for anyone in especially bulky clothing or carrying a large bag. (Note that many theaters no longer allow any kind of large bag in the building.) Make a mental note of who and where anyone is who sets off any kind of alarm bells in your head. They are probably not a menace, but knowing where they are could save your life if they are s threat.
Bring a flashlight!
As in any building, pay attention to where the entrance and exit points are the moment you enter the theater. Make a mental note of all possible escape routes. Carry a flashlight. Nice bright lights now come small enough to hang on a key-chain and will last as long as you need to exit in a hurry.
Remember to choose a really bright light that will illuminate as far as possible ahead of you. You do not want to run into the bad guy while trying to escape. Some of the people who survived the Aurora shooting in 2012 did not realize that as they ran to escape during a lull in the shooting, they ran right by the shooter, likely surviving only because he was trying to clear a jam.
A bright flashlight can also be an effective weapon against a shooter, should you be confronted. This is another reason to be sure your flashlight is powerful enough to shine brilliantly at a distance. A bright light can temporarily blind a shooter, giving you an extra few seconds to escape.
Where can you hide?
When you enter the theater, look for the best place(s) to hide, in case you find yourself in a situation where you can’t get to the exit but also can’t stay where you are. I don’t consider it being paranoid to prepare and plan ahead of time for your safety and the safety of those you love. It’s just being smart.
Remember that the seats in a theater may offer you some protection in putting you out of the line of sight of a shooter, but they are no match for a bullet. Theater seats offer no more protection than the movie theater screen, so in a duck and run situation, their escape action is to block the shooter’s view as you make your way along the floor to your chosen place of hiding or exit.
Hiding in place by lying down between the rows of seats has proven to be very dangerous in many cases where there has been a mass shooter. Unfortunately, people have been shot randomly in such a position. Playing dead has not proven to be effective. Shooters sometimes methodically shoot bodies, especially if there are no other targets in sight to shoot.
Report anything suspicious
Right along this same line of thought, if you spot anyone or anything that seems suspicious to you, report it to the theater manager. If you have anyone with you such as your kids, take them with you. It is better to look silly and be safe than to look cool in a nice coffin…
Most theater owners and managers, today, are more security minded than ever. The last thing they want is for movie goers to be afraid to enter a theater. It’s very unlikely they are going to be unhappy with your report. If they are, I would recommend not frequenting that theater since it’s obvious they are not concerned about your safety or your life.
Don’t turn your phone off
Keep your phone turned on. I have watched so many people dutifully turned their cellphones off when asked to do so in theaters and other venues, but it’s just not necessary, today, and it’s a really deadly idea from a security point of view. Turn the sound off and put it on vibrate. Keep it in your pocket or belt clip so the light won’t distract movie goers and you’re good to go.
If you happen to be in a theater with an active shooter, being able to immediately send an emergency call without waiting for your phone to power on, plus if you need it, with most phones today you also have a very bright flashlight built right in.
In an active shooter situation in a theater, should you ever find yourself facing one, get out as fast as you possibly can. If you’re seated is in the back row, aisle side, you likely have a near 100% chance of getting out if you move quickly, unless the shooter is right on top of you.
If you can’t escape
Remember, if you can’t escape, FIGHT. If you are carrying a concealed weapon, use it if you must. This kind of situation is the reason for doing concealed carry in the first place. Remember, only use a firearm if you must… but if you must use a firearm, don’t hesitate. As the old axiom states: It is better to be tried by twelve than carried by six in a life or death situation this is the most appropriate course of action.
Be mentally prepared for anything, trained and practiced for all situations, and stay safe! By taking a proper course on personal security and the safe use of firearms, you can develop life-long and life-saving skills. It’s great that you’re reading this article, because you are now at the very least informed. However, without the discipline that comes with training and practice, you could easily forget everything you’ve just read and forget everything in the excitement of attending the next blockbuster movie.
Remember these key life-saving tips…….
- When you visit a movie theater, choose your seat wisely. An aisle seat in the center back row gives you the best view and usually the best access to the exits.
- Be sure of where the exits are, and choose the best escape routes.
- Observe the people in the theater and look for any suspicious behavior.
- Always carry a bright flashlight and a charged cell phone.
- Take a personal defense course. Remember that knowledge is great, but training is what makes the knowledge come naturally in a life or death encounter.