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  • Writer's pictureSue

Airport Safety – What I’ve Learned

Updated: Jan 23, 2023

Everyday, millions of people go through airports on their way to or from a flight.  Fortunately, the worst thing that most encounter is a lost bag or a missed flight.  However, on January 6, 2017, I had an experience at an airport that I don’t want to repeat anytime soon.  It was on that day that someone chose to shoot people in the baggage claim area of Terminal 2 at Ft. Lauderdale airport.  While he was downstairs shooting in baggage claim, I was upstairs going through the TSA security check.  Ultimately, five people lost their lives and others were injured to varying degrees as a result of the shooting that day.  I, along with many others, were fortunate that we came out of it physically unscathed but with the memories that won’t be forgotten anytime soon.

Now, please know that this post is not meant to start a debate about gun violence or the right to bear arms or anything else such as that.  I’m not even looking for an “OMG Sue.  Glad you’re okay!”  I’m fine.  However, I did have a few takeaways from that experience – things that I will remember for the next time I have to go to/through an airport.

  1. Wear sensible shoes.  When I was running through the airport and out on the tarmac, I had high heel shoes on.  Not good.  I could have twisted an ankle and/or fallen.  And, I do know that running would have been much easier with flat shoes.  At the very least you might need to run to catch a flight due to a short connection time.  So, definitely a good tip to consider.

  2. Make sure that you have identification on everything, and I do mean everything!  When the shooting began, we were all told to run.  And, in that situation, you just leave your belongings and run when told to do so.  I was so thankful that I had a bag tag on my bag, even though I had not checked it.  It made the process of contacting me and getting my bag back to me so much easier for the airport staff.  I also had identification inside my purse, so they were able to get that to me as well.

  3. Ensure that any electronics are fully charged, and if possible, keep a charging cable nearby.   While my phone was inside my purse which was still “on the belt” the first time we were evacuated, I did get it back when we were initially allowed back into the terminal and they attempted to get property back to its rightful owners.  It was about 75% charged when I had arrived at the airport and then by the time I was able to plug it in (thanks to the Uber driver who let me borrow a charging cable on the drive to Miami), it was down at 2% battery.  Being able to communicate is so important.

So, now you might be thinking, “Gosh Sue, but it’s not everyday that you encounter something like this.”  And I will say, “True, but for any reason, you might need to run, or you might be separated from your belongings, or you might not have an opportunity to ‘charge up’ in order to remain in communication with friends or loved ones.”

The Girl Scout motto is Be Prepared.  From now on, I will make sure to do just that.  Just sayin’

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