Someone decides to go out and kill people and tragedy results.
We’ve seen it in factories, a theater, offices, schools, shopping malls, houses of worship — even on a military base. A shooting in an Atlanta courtroom a few years ago — after a defendant took a handgun away from a law enforcement officer — proved no place is 100 percent safe.
Statistically, these events are rare. In all probability, you will never be in a situation where an armed shooter is threatening your life — but the facts are, it could happen.
What will you do if it does?
The Department of Homeland Security has studied a number of these incidents and is working with state and local agencies to help everyone become more aware of how to survive such an attack, and how to be prepared for the unthinkable if it occurs.
We’re pleased to note that several law enforcement agencies in our area are being proactive in offering to help the public better understand how to plan for safety.
Pell City’s Police Department recently offered the public use of its Firearms Training System (FATS), designed primarily to give armed law enforcement officers experience in a variety of scenarios that could occur. Private citizens can also benefit from the training, and some tried it out at the city’s recent block party. “Active shooter” scenarios are part of that system.
But since most people are unarmed, the Sylacauga Police Department, Talladega Police Department and Talladega County Sheriff’s Department are offering a different type of preparation.
Eleven law enforcement officers from those agencies are now certified instructors in the “Run, Hide, Fight!” program, an initiative of the Alabama Department of Homeland Security. The certification allows them to teach personnel from businesses, public agencies and organizations to protect themselves if they are involved in an active shooter situation; that’s defined as a person engaged in killing or attempting to kill people in a confined and populated area, typically with a firearm.
Even though the likelihood of such an event occurring at any one specific location is extremely remote, it’s likely to happen again somewhere. The more people that are trained, the better the odds more people will survive.
It will take business owners, managers and agency directors to take the initiative to contact one of these departments to arrange the 90-minute course.
For a brief overview of the training, anyone can visit Alabama’s DHS website, view a six and a half minute video, and read an outline of the plan. That’s available at http://dhs.alabama.gov/activeshooter.aspx.
The basic idea is to have a plan, and it doesn’t have to be complicated.
In an active shooter situation, the individual must decide whether his/her best option is to run, to hide or to fight. To make that decision requires alertness and preparation. Training is the key to being prepared.
Combat soldiers have often said that, in intense situations, their training took over and got them through. Training can help civilians survive, too.
Understanding your options ahead of time can make a life-or-death difference when seconds count.
We appreciate the offer being made to promote safety and security in the workplace. We hope the instructors will be kept busy.