North Idaho

Kroc Center prepared against random attacks

COEUR D'ALENE, Idaho - During Monday's rampage at Ohio State University, school officials sent a campus-wide message to staff and students: "Run. Hide. Fight." The staff at the Salvation Army's Kroc Center in Coeur d'Alene is thinks those three words are meant to empower us against any type of attack.

The world is becoming a dangerous place, and so in order to better take care of their guests, employees took in two hours of active shooter training response for civilians.

Every day, more than 3,000 people train, play, or workout at the Kroc Center. Unfortunately, keeping them safe from violence has become one of the staff's top priorities.

"We want to reduce fear," said Krock Center Safety Manager Dale Eller. "Fear can be a paralyzing agent when it comes to an event like that. So by educating our staff it feels like there is a sense of empowerment for them."

In May, Gary Schultz from the Kootenai County Sheriff's Office walked the staff through what they should know about protecting the facility. Thinking about escaping or evading an active shooter in advance is the key to minimizing casualties.

"As an example, we all prepare ourselves for fire escapes and we should all prepare ourselves for other critical situations and to know where your exits are and what to avoid and don't put yourself in those positions to start with, if possible," said Kootenai County Sheriff's Deputy Dennis Stinebaugh.

Employees in a workplace violence scenario are taught to barricade themselves behind a locked door and told to turn off their cells so a ringing phone doesn't betray their location.

"There are things like fire extinguishers, chairs, computers that can be used as impact weapons to help protect yourself," said Det. Stinebaugh.

That's the concept that struck the Kroc staff the most; You can refuse to be the victim of violence. If you can't run or hide as a last resort, you can fight. In this part of the country, there are definitely some people who would rise to the occasion.

Classes about civilian response to an active shooter situation are offered to schools and businesses. If you're interested in the free training, contact Greg Schultz at the Kootenai County Sheriff's Office.