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Emergency Notifications Vital to NYC Emergency Response

SARAH YOKUBAITIS, HOST: After the mass shooting in the subway on Tuesday morning, New Yorkers’ phones started buzzing, alerting New Yorkers to the unfolding situation. Corey Jones is a security consultant and former SWAT team member based in Philadelphia. He says the first thing you should do when you get an emergency alert while you’re on the subway is just to look around, to be aware of your surroundings.

COREY JONES: Know where you got on the train, know where you got off, know where you're going know where the next stop is, know the best way to get to the exits, know the best way to get from one car to another car. And if all else fails, know where you could find cover or concealment on that train should something happens. Then the other A would be avoidance. If you just look on a car, and it just doesn't look safe. The atmosphere, it's the way that people are acting on there. Then the last day would be action, be ready for action, that action may be to attack. If that person is attacking you or other people, it may be to elicit other riders, other people, other citizens to help you attack that person.

YOKUBAITIS: One thing we were kind of all discussing is that the alerts, we all kind of got them at different times. some people got it right after the shooting occurred. Some people didn't get it until a day later. Why does that happen? Why don't these mass notifications go out to everyone at the same time so that you can do that and assess other people's reactions and everyone's on the same page?

JONES: That's a good question. I'm not 100% trained up on how those work but I do know that a lot of them are by private companies. So depending on when that information gets in what that company who gets the information does it or receives it, they have to then vet that information to determine how accurate it is. And what they can put out, that's going to give the people who are receiving it the best chance of either surviving an ongoing event, or helping to arrest or locate an individual prior to doing another event, or to take him into custody for the event that he she they had just done.

YOKUBAITIS: These mass notification systems, do they work best in situations where there's a problem with weather versus, like an active shooter situation?

JONES: I would think that a weather one would be a lot easier, because we do have a lot more lag time, we have a lot more time to be able to predict when there's going to be a lot of thunderstorms coming. When I say a lot more, you know that that train i ncident happened within 10 seconds. If we have a half hour before line of thunderstorms. So the closer you get to that bank, the closer you get to when that incident happens, the more timely, accurate and actionable information is needed, and then has to get there quickly, not only to alert people that something is happening, but to alert people the safest place to go.

YOKUBAITIS: So are these notification systems useful in emergency situations?

JONES: Yes they are useful, nothing is 100%. They're newer, so there's going to need to be some consolidation and some consistency in the speed accuracy, and how how widely they're disseminated to people.

YOKUBAITIS: Eric Adams has proposed putting metal detectors in stations. Is that a feasible security solution? What are some feasible security solutions to increase safety in the subway stations?

JONES: You know what the line is to get through a metal detector, you've gone to a concert, where they have metal detectors, right?it dramatically slows everything down. Right? If you're a commuter, that's just going to potentially add another half hour to your commute to work another half hour to your commute home. And that's going to make it harder and less attractive for people to want to come and work in New York. I'm not a big proponent of of having that as a I worked metal detectors before. 30 years ago, early technology, a great adventure security. Believe it or not, it really did clog up the mines. We kept weapons out of the park. We confiscated a lot of weapons. So it's the trade off. If the public is willing to trade the you know, slowing them down, clogging Emma to have a different sense of security. That's something that the public would have to decide, I think a better for a more feasible solution might be just to have the mere presence of officers of canine units that are trained to detect explosive devices, and have them trained properly. There's special ways to train that I won't get won't get into, because I don't want to give the bad guys the heads up on it. But there's a lot of training that they do with uniformed and non uniform and CCTV and camera to determine how somebody reacts when they are approached by a uniformed officer. And then that's somebody that they can target and interdict talk to, and find out what that person is up to no good.

YOKUBAITIS: Any other thoughts on the subway shooting and the security issues around it?

JONES: With that action phase, I was talking about attacking, you want to try to get people on your side, you want to yo you want to make noise, you want to give directions, call 911 Call 911 You You helped me let's stop him. Let's get him grab his arms. And when we attack this person, this is a life or death situation. Okay, this isn't two kids fighting on the playground, where we're just trying to separate them. This is someone who is actively trying to kill you, anybody you are with, and other people. So when we attack this person, we're going to stop him, we need to gouge his eyes out, we need to attack his ability to see his throat, his ability to breathe, his ability to function that weapon and to stand up. So we really need to take him down and don't do like Hollywood, hit him with one thing and he falls down. Because what happens in Hollywood, that bad guy always gets back up, crawls over to the weapon and completes his mission. So we don't want to do the Hollywood, we definitely want to do that. And then when I talk about potentially exiting the case, we call it getting off the edge getting out of the area on a moving train, that's kind of hard, especially if somehow it causes the doors to be locked. But when we flee, a lot of people were injured by being trampled and smashed. By doing that, you almost have to get yourself like a football player close to the edge, holding on the whole way that you're going, getting the people that are important to you, in front of you holding on to you. So you can maintain control of them getting low and having a wide balance a wide base and taking, you know good steps. So you're not off balance, moving with a sense of purpose, a sense of urgency to or direction, if there's smoke or some other noxious fumes in there. You want to have a face covering if you're not wearing a face covering, you know, we're just coming out with that pandemic, even so much as pulling up a t shirt. If you have a bottle of water or Gatorade or coffee pouring down on it, that liquid can help mitigate the effects of any kind of smoke or something on there. And then make that report. When you get to a safe location. You can text sign one you can call 911. You can call 911 and not even say anything.

YOKUBAITIS: All right, cool. Thanks for joining us, I really appreciate it!


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