SPOKANE, Wash. - Recent shootings across the nation are pushing more people to seek special training so they know what to do if they're involved in a shooting or other act of violence.
Spokane County Sheriff's Deputy Chris Johnston said people need to be prepared, not paranoid. That was one message he shared at a free public active shooter survival training session Saturday.
"The Sheriff's Office just wants to give as many tools to citizens as we possibly can to stay safe. That's what it's all about," Johnston said.
Ted Eldridge was one of dozens of people that attended Johnston's training in the Spokane Valley over the weekend. He said he's worried about the frequency of mass shootings, so he's taking steps to be proactive.
"What is this world coming to and why did we have so many people willing to take the lives of other people?" Eldridge said. "I would like myself and my wife to be prepared or at least know what to do in a situation like that."
The three step platform Johnston shared Saturday was avoid, defend, and deny. The training originates from the Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training (ALERRT)™ Program at Texas State University. According to the training, you should call 911 as soon as you can during an emergency situation, then focus on avoiding the threat.
That's something that starts with a person's state of mind. Specialists say people should have an exit plan and need to move away from the source of the threat as quickly as possible. The more distance and barriers between a person being threatened and a potential attacker, the better.
If you can't get away from the threat, Johnston said to deny. That means creating barriers, turning lights off, and staying out of sight and quiet. He explained that simple items can be used as barriers, like large appliances. You can also take a belt and tighten it on the hinge of some doors to prevent it from opening.
If you come face to face with the person or people threatening your life, Johnston said it's time to defend yourself. He told attendees they have a right to protect themselves. He said it's about survival so you shouldn't fight fair. Johnston encouraged people to be aggressive and be committed to the actions taken.
Finally, when law enforcement arrives on scene, it's important that people follow all commands and understand law enforcement's priority is to find and confront the shooter.
Johnston said you almost never know when an act of violence, like a mass shooting, will happen. So it's important to ask the tough questions now.
"These incidents, when they occur, they occur without warning. We don't always know when or where something like this is going to happen," Johnston said.
If you'd to schedule a seminar you can contact Deputy Johnston directly be emailing email@example.com
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