Some lessons learned from watching the coverage of the Paris attacks:
1. Know where the exits are. I've always taken emergency exits for granted never thinking they could be the very thing that save my life. A witness from the Paris concert hall attack mentioned having a habit of always knowing where the nearest emergency exit was located and the fastest route to it. This habit saved her life.
2. Memorize emergency phone numbers and essential passwords. Crazy how many numbers we don't know. Learn one to call internationally if local calls are impossible due to emergencies such as natural disasters. Also memorize your Facebook password. This may be the fastest and only way to communicate with loved ones if phones are failing.
3. Play dead. Can't believe I just typed that, but I read a few testimonials of individuals who literally played dead and held their breath as much as possible, holding completely still in the midst of carnage and chaos. This should be a last resort if escaping or hiding are impossible. This act saved the lives of some in the Paris attacks. Many times we may want to scream and yell but this act actually brings attention to us and could do more harm than good.
4. Be conscious of suspicious activity and follow your gut. Our intuition is very good at heightening our senses when something just doesn't feel right. Listen to those premonitions if your mind is nagging you about a certain situation, future commitment, or person.
5. Always look for the people helping. In an active situation be alert with all around you. Brave citizens may very well extend a hand when you need it most. Don't go at it alone when tragedy strikes.