Most of us have heard the phrase “take cover!” while watching a crime drama. But what does it mean?

Are cover and concealment the same thing? I’ve talked with some who thought that cover and conceal meant the same thing, but this is not true! So what is the difference between cover and concealment?

When faced with gunshots, the advice we hear is to “run for cover”. The images we see from TV and movies are of people diving behind anything that will hide them. So, if we are told to take cover, most of us will hide behind the first object we can find. That is because most of us have learned from TV that to take cover means that we should duck behind anything that will hide us from view. That is NOT the definition of cover you want to remember if you’re ever faced with gunfire. To use an object to hide behind so that someone cannot see you, that is CONCEALMENT.

If you hear gunshots, or you see someone with a gun, concealment is better than being out in the open, but what you really want to find is COVER. So, if hiding behind an object that will screen you from view is concealment, what is cover? Cover also hides you from view, but more importantly it offers protection against projectiles and bullets. Basically, concealment is to hide from view. Cover is to have something between you and a bullet that will stop the bullet from reaching you.

Look at the picture of the tree and the planter. Could you use it for concealment? Could you use it for cover?

If you were to stand behind the tree, then you are hidden from view, but almost any projectile will find it’s way through the tree to you. On the other hand, if you were to crouch behind the cement planter, there’s a chance of cover. The cement should slow, if not stop, the bullet. A wide cement column, for example, is a great option for cover.

Do not be fooled by the movies. Hiding behind a refrigerator will not save you from a bullet. The material is not sufficient and the bullet will likely pierce right through it and reach you. Remember, inside a refrigerator is nothing but air, which will not slow down a bullet.

Learn to recognize those objects that will offer cover in case of emergency. Next time you are at the mall, for example, take a visual inventory of objects that will offer cover and which will offer concealment. By paying attention and practicing now, you’ll teach your mind to automatically seek out the right places for concealment and for cover.

Send me photos of cover and concealment opportunities. Let’s practice together!

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