Strategies for staying safe in a crisis - News, Weather and Sports for Lincoln, NE;

Strategies for staying safe in a crisis

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By: Jenn Schanz

It's supposed to be a place to socialize and shop, but in rare cases, a mall can feel like a war zone.

It did for shoppers in New Jersey on Monday.

"As soon as I came upstairs the mall security guy was just screaming at me to get out," says one shopper.

The gunman didn't shoot anyone and eventually took his own life.

But this isn't the first time a mall has been targeted.

"I didn't realize they were gun shots, then I heard people starting to panic and they said get down, get down," recalls a shopper who was injured during the 2007 Von Maur department store shooting in Omaha, which left nine dead.

"We always learn tragedies," says UNL Officer Koan Nissen.

Nissen says emergency responders have developed new strategies to keep the public safe.

"We know that again, seconds matter, and so the responding officers have to get in there and they have to neutralize the threat."

With the holidays fast approaching, Nissen says shoppers should be aware of a national three–step safety measure too:

First, get away; run if you can.

But, if you're stuck in a dangerous place, try to find a safe hiding spot. Try and put something between you and the shooter, lock the door or barricade it. And as a last resort, fight to defend yourself.

Nissen says national training urges officers to go in and address a crisis, as oppose to setting up a perimeter, like what was done in the past.

"Your street units and your general patrol officers are going to go intercept the shooter."

For more information on UNL's emergency procedures, visit

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