Law enforcement gives breakdown of active shooter safety at seminar

Published 3:33 pm Friday, February 26, 2016

The Decatur County Chamber of Commerce held the first of its four Lunch and Learns for 2016 with a seminar on handling active shooters in the workplace.

“It is just a great way to educate businesses,” Chamber President Adrienne Harrison. “Active shooter is very timely. As you can see by the turnout, it is of interest.”

Sheriff Wiley Griffin and Investigator Ken Davidson, who is also a training officer with the Decatur County Sheriff’s office, presented the program.

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“The way that we approach active shooter as law enforcement officers is totally different than the way that I am going to tell you to respond to it,” Davidson said at the start of his presentation. “That is because we’re trained, we’re armed, we’re ready to do these things.”

Civilians have three options in an active shooter situation: run, hide or fight. Unlike law enforcement officers who are trained to actively pursue the shooter, civilians’ primary goal should be to get out of harms’ way and run according to Davidson.

“If you can get out, get out that’s the biggest thing,” Davidson said. “Let law enforcement come deal with it. If you can get out, get out and take as many people with you as possible.”

While the goal is to take as many people with you as you can, Davidson warned to not let other people slow you down in your pursuit of safety.

“Encourage others to leave with you, but don’t let them slow you down with indecision,” Davidson said. “If you stay there with them, then we have two victims instead of one.”

When you have the option to run, Davidson said it is important to leave your things behind and get to safety as quickly as you can. Just because you get out of the building or out of harms way does not mean you are immediately safe. Davidson recommended seeking cover and then working to make sure others don’t enter the situation.

If running is not an option the next step is to try and hide.

“There is a difference between cover and concealment,” Davidson said. “Cover you can’t see me, concealment your bullets can’t get me.”

Your best option is to lock yourself in a room with a deadbolt on the door and then to place large objects in the way of the entrance. If that is not an option find the safest place possible.

“Act quickly and act quietly,” Davidson said. “Turn out the lights, lock the door, and turn off the ringer on your phone.”

It is also important to remain as quiet as possible.

“All you are yelling is, ‘Come shoot me, I’m over here come shoot me’,” Davidson said.

As a last resort, if running and hiding are no longer options, Davidson recommended fighting like your life depends on it, because it very well might.

“As a last resort, if your life is at risk whether alone or as a group, fight,” Davidson said. “Fight with aggression. I am not going to stand there and watch him shoot. He is going to have to earn it. Arm yourself.”

A variety of items can be used as weapons, including fire extinguishers, chairs, tables and more. Davidson warned that even if you fight as a group, some people are likely to get hurt, but even though it sounds cold-blooded, that result is preferable to everyone getting injured or killed.

“If you can, disarm the shooter,” Davidson said. “Commit to taking him down. If there are eight of you in the room and all eight of you rush him somebody is going to get hurt. Somebody might die, but somebody is going to get him. Better that one of you gets hurt than all eight of you die. Make up your mind that you are not going to be a victim. I’m not going to go easily. I’m not going to quit.”

According to Davidson, the most important thing in any active shooter situation is to keep calm, keep your head in the game, and let law enforcement do its job.

“If you’re going to freak out, freak out later,” Davidson said. “Our job is to run to the noise. That is how we train. We actually train with someone firing a blank gun and we find the noise. And when we find the noise, we stop the noise.”

The first responders on the scene are tasked with ending the threat first and not with tending to the injured.

“We are going after that shooter, because as long as they are shooting there are more people getting injured,” Davidson said. “We will step over you. We train to. If we stop to help you, he’s going to hurt more people.”

After they have cleared the scene emergency services will be allowed to enter to tend to those that are injured.

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