Thursday, March 30, 2017

Training teaches how to respond to an active shooter

With a rising number of active-shooter incidents, police departments aren't the only organizations undergoing training on how to respond. 
Cpl. David Spivey with the S.C. Department of Public Safety recently trained the whole Municipal Association staff and made presentations to the Association of SC Mayors and the Municipal Clerk Treasurers Association.

There were 20 active-shooter incidents in 2015 and 2014, up three from 2013, according to the FBI. The agency defines “active shooter” as one or more individual with a firearm actively engaged in killing or attempting to kill people in a populated area.

Although it’s impossible to plan for every conceivable threat scenario, Spivey  said an organization’s employee buy-in is the key.

“Your employees have to understand what you’re trying to accomplish,” Spivey said. “They are there every day and they see the vulnerabilities. They know what needs to be looked at. They know when they feel unsafe and where they feel unsafe. Management and planning departments needs to talk with those individuals.”

How do you respond to an active shooter?

Spivey said there's no set way to respond to an active shooter. "Do whatever you need to do be safe."
  • Announce “active shooter” or other emergency using plain language. Do not use code words.
  • When a lockdown is announced, tell this to other employees in a clear, calm voice. Include temporary workers, custodial and others in the building. Do not allow re-entry to the building.
  • Run — Get away from the attacker fast. Do not stop to remove injured victims or to gather personal belongings. Keep your hands visible and at eye level as you exit the building.
  • Hide — Deny access. Take cover in a locked room. Turn off all lights and silence cell phones. Barricade the door with heavy objects. Stay away from windows and doors. Stay quiet.
  • Do not duck and cover 
  • Follow all police instructions immediately.
  • Fight — Defend yourself at all costs. Use what you have in the room to protect yourself - a stapler, a pen, computer monitor, fire extinguisher. Swarm the attacker. "All it takes is one brave soul," said Cpl Spivey. Throw things at the attacker's head. 
  • Call 911 Have one person call the police. Don't tie up the dispatcher with multiple calls. Provide an accurate description and specific location. Point out any suspicious devices or explosives.
Above all, Spivey said, "Have a plan. Then have another plan. Don't be scared to do something."
Demonstrating swarming an attacker
Spivey suggested having employees watch this video to learn the basics of being prepared for an active shooter.

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