On January 6th, 2017, a man opened fire in the baggage area of Terminal 2 at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport in Florida, USA. The attack killed five people and wounded eight others. The motive behind the shooting has not been clearly established, though the shooter was acting alone.

This incident was one part of a bigger trend of mass shootings in the United States, totaling 136 incidents in 2016. This incident was unique in the sense that it posed a risk for travelers.

Most shootings involve little risk to travelers. Even though there is a lot of media coverage, mass shootings are still a rare incident. The number of mass shootings in the United States is growing, but the risk of getting caught up in a shooting is still low for a travelers.

For SAFEY users an SMS alert was sent to everyone in the area, within twenty minutes of the shooting. The information provided to our users included the location of the shooting, as well as the arrest of the perpetrator.

During the incident the shooter’s motive was not clear, and neither was the scale of the attack. For that reason, safety instructions in the case of terrorist attacks were also included. Updates regarding the status of the investigation and the victims followed closely after the first alert. Over the next few days, SAFEY Emergency System updated users as to when the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport would reopen.

Our advice to travelers:

If a shooting occurs:

  • Remain calm.
  • Follow the instruction of emergency personnel.
  • Listen to local media broadcasts for further information
  • Implement emergency plans if safe to do so


Evacuation during a shooting

  • Respond immediately to any instructions from the emergency services regarding premises evacuation.
  • Seek to distance yourself from the situation if safe to do so; exit the area quickly and quietly, using routes that lead away from the danger, and make yourself known to police or emergency personnel
  • Risk management team, business continuity manager or designated Incident Manager / Gold Commander may be liaising with the emergency services and on-site personnel to implement an evacuation.
  • Use travel routes specified by local authorities—do not use alternative routes due to potential road closures, ongoing counter-terrorism operations or the threat of secondary attacks.
  • The incident may require an invacuation or “Shelter in Place”. Personnel should rally at a pre-determined safe location and keep all doors and windows locked. Plant equipment should be turned off if possible. Contingency planning will need to consider sustenance, particularly fluids, first aid provision and toilet facilities at the pre-determined location.
  • Be prepared to wait and remain patient. It could be many hours before personnel are able to leave the building.
  • Do not leave the ‘Shelter in Place’ until informed to do so by someone in authority.


 For more information, read our counter-terrorism whitepaper.