CLEVELAND - Emergency situations can happen anywhere.

“People just don’t believe it will happen to them or to the location that they’re at, and that’s just not true,” says Timothy Dimoff, a national security expert.

Dimoff continued, “from a school, to a business, to a nonprofit to a house of worship. Outside and inside, there are no exceptions anymore.”

Dimoff used to be a police officer in Akron and now runs SACS Consulting and Investigative Services. He says, it’s important to be thinking ahead and knowing what you’d do if something happens.

“The biggest problem we have is, everybody goes for the familiarity and that would be the front door exits,” says Dimoff. He says you should walk around before even sitting down at a bar or restaurant to find out how many exits there are and where they are.

Take for example Townhall on West 25th in Ohio City, they were kind enough to let me in to scope it out. They actually have 4 exits from the seating areas that patrons can use. There are 2 in the front which exit to West 25th, but there’s also 2 more in the back. One of those is easy to spot, but the other is down a hallway that I wouldn't have known if I didn't walk around before sitting. Dimoff says it’s important to visually identify where those exits are beforehand.

“Under stress and pressure, your mind will be able to register what you just saw and saved in your head,” he says.

This is true for other businesses like malls and stores as well. Dimoff says there are typically exits from stores that lead outside in addition to the one you enter through a mall. He also said to take notice of kitchens in restaurants, because it’s a good bet there’ll be a back exit there, used for shipments.

It’s not being over cautious, it’s being prepared.

Dimoff adds, “How we react is going to dictate whether we live, die or get hurt. You have to start preparing for that, just in case.”