I’ve trained – more than a lot of people – but I still earn something new and have my training reinforced from every blog article the USCCA posts.
The thing that hit home for me in this article the first time I read it (yes, I usually read them multiple times) was:
“This can’t be what I think it is.” Even momentary denial can lead to the loss of valuable seconds which could have been used to escape or to prepare an active counterattack.
Maybe it’s because of the training I did last weekend? Maybe because we never believe it will happen to us? But that momentary doubt stood out to me. We know what gunshots sound like, believing our ears and eyes can mean the difference between life and death for us and our loved ones.
Myself and one of my Supervisors were tasked with worse case scenario development. We concluded that a team of 3 or more could kill over 1000 people in less than 5 minutes with just a basic knowledge of the layout of our building.
I bring this up because when you read this article you are tasked with developing your own plan to deal with such a possibility. The article talks about a shooter specifically, but mass casualty events encompass more than a firearm.
Due to creating scenarios for my team, I find myself going somewhere and thinking “If I were a shooter how would I do this for maximum effect? Where are the weak points in my strategy?” Then I plan around those answers to decide what I would do to stay safe in that situation.
I’m not going to lie, 9 times out of 10 my plan doesn’t involve running away. Something that seriously irks me is how many places have employees that block fire exits and alternative entrances with whatever. Plenty of times I’ve seen fully loaded pallets blocking fire exits in big box stores. So my plans almost always involve working around the lack of awareness employees all too often exhibit.
I’m glad to see this article. My school district started active shooter defense training shortly after Columbine. Since then we’ve been through countless scenarios put on by a very good company. We use the lock out, get out, take out plan which offers more options than run, hide, fight but they both offer options to help you survive and to lead untrained people to helping.
This is a very necessary skill and mindset for today’s realities.
I am responsible for security at my church and we plan and prepare for active aggressors on a regular basis. We practice both containment and engagement. Containment includes directing the congregation to run or hide, depending on the threat. An engagement team will attempt to engage the aggressor.
Our church also teaches the assembly Run, Hide, Fight. We plan for the worst case and pray that it never happens.
We use a local resource to teach the congregation run hide fight with additional training to our greeters, ushers, staff and pastors. For our security team we use resources from my former SO to do the training. This helps us with both our LE/armed security insurance rider rates and we have instructors that can testify that our team is trained to the same standard as the SO which exceeds the state minimum LE standards. We also train occasionally at our facility after hours with the PD that patrols our campus as well as the other local PDs that would be responding if the worst would happen. And we invite them all in whenever our building is open for coffee. It is great to have a good relationship with these folks. It just so happens that the Chief of GDPD that patrols my church was my Lt. early in my LE career. I also keep the doors open with local FD and EMS which is also handled by a department where I was Sgt./Engineer for a good part of time when I was with the SO.
The pastoral and staff response has been good and they recognize the potential threats and are very supportive of our team. There are still some hurdle’s we have to get over where they want to downplay some of this to keep member’s at ease. Next month we are going to be doing our first fire drills in our kids wind during services. This is my first step to making other threats more visible to the congregation. For the most part, our congregation is very happy with the fact that we have good guys with guns that are trained to respond to security, safety and medical emergencies.
Dawn, That is a good article and most of it lines up with the classroom portion of the Active Shooter class I took at the ISRA range. One item the article missed that my class included was a flashlight. If cornered it can be used to blind the shooter and as an impact weapon, while being a security policy “friendly” item in restricted areas such as schools.