Indiana Department of Homeland Security urges you to prepare, practice plan in case of violent acts

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (Nov. 24, 2015) -- Indiana Department of Homeland Security officials said that Hoosiers should not be scared to attend holiday events, but they should be prepared.

"It’s everyone’s individual choice," IDHS Director of Public Information John Erickson said.

In light of the recent travel alert issued by the U.S. State Department, CBS4 talked one-on-one with Erickson. He said you should decide on your own what events you feel comfortable attending.

"We don’t want people to live in fear," Erickson said.

He said Hoosiers should not be scared and are encouraged to attend big holiday events as usual, but that they should go in with open eyes.

"We want them to be more aware of their surroundings. We want them to make sure they’re more careful in all situations," Erickson said.

The IDHS unveiled a new campaign Tuesday called "Ready: Whenever. Wherever."

The campaign encourages you to be on the lookout for suspicious activity and to come up with an plan ahead of time if something goes wrong.

Here are some tips the Department provided:

  • Think about different scenarios that could be encountered in public settings.
  • Consider what defensive actions would be appropriate for oneself and one’s family.
  • Mentally or actively rehearse actions.
  • Identify the emergency exits and safety barriers upon entering a building.
  • Maintain awareness of other people and developing situations in the surrounding area.

Those conversations can be difficult to have with family, but IUPUI's Director of Public Safety Outreach, Troy Riggs, said they are important.

"I think you should just be honest, that’s what we do in our family. We talk about potentials for incidents, but not going into specifics about a terrorist attack or anything along those lines," Riggs said.

Riggs and Erickson both said you should be ready, just in case. They also said your eyes and ears can help and that you should never hesitate to call 911 or talk to a law enforcement officer or security officer on scene if you think something is wrong.

"I wish it’s something that we didn’t have to think about, but as we’ve seen it is something that we need to think about and we need to be ready for," Erickson said.

For more information on how to prepare for an emergency situation, go to the IDHS website at the link here.

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