Ac­tive Shooter Train­ing

Spike in LGBT in­ter­est post-Or­lando

GA Voice - - Front Page - By PA­TRICK SAUN­DERS psaun­ders@the­gavoice.com

As the num­ber of mass shoot­ings con­tinue to increase across the coun­try, pub­lic de­mand is in­creas­ing for train­ing in what to do if one finds them­selves in the mid­dle of an ac­tive shooter sit­u­a­tion. And the June 12 shoot­ing at Or­lando LGBT night­club Pulse that left 49 dead and 53 in­jured called par­tic­u­lar at­ten­tion to the safety of pa­trons at LGBT es­tab­lish­ments both here in At­lanta and be­yond.

While the At­lanta Po­lice De­part­ment has con­firmed in­creased pa­trols and the pres­ence of plain­clothes Home­land Se­cu­rity of­fi­cers at the city’s LGBT es­tab­lish­ments, var­i­ous metro At­lanta po­lice de­part­ments are also of­fer­ing work­shops to the pub­lic on ac­tive shooter sit­u­a­tions.

The Clay­ton County Sher­iff ’s Of­fice has teamed up with the Clay­ton County Po­lice De­part­ment to pro­vide ac­tive shooter sur­vival train­ing to any busi­ness, place of wor­ship or group that wants the train­ing in Clay­ton County. The Ma­ri­etta Po­lice De­part­ment has held sev­eral ac­tive shooter sur­vival work­shops for civil­ians, the most re­cent be­ing on June 20 at Ma­ri­etta High School. The At­lanta Po­lice De­part­ment held four work­shops on the topic ear­lier this year and they tell Ge­or­gia Voice that there are plans to do an­other but they have not locked down a date yet.

Texas State Univer­sity pro­gram is na­tional stan­dard

Be­fore mass shoot­ings be­came so com­mon, ac­tive shooter train­ing was just for law en­force­ment of­fi­cers. The Ad­vanced Law En­force­ment Rapid Re­sponse Train­ing Pro­gram (ALERRT), which was cre­ated at Texas State Univer­sity in 2002, has be­come the na­tional stan­dard in such train­ing. The FBI adopted the pro­gram fol­low­ing the New­town, Con­necti­cut shoot­ing at Sandy Hook El­e­men­tary School in 2012 that left 27 dead.

As a re­sult of in­creas­ing pub­lic aware­ness of such train­ing and how to get it, the same team be­hind ALERRT cre­ated the Avoid, Deny, De­fend (ADD) method for civil­ians. They’ve cre­ated a web­site for ADD that in­cludes train­ing ma­te­ri­als, posters, fly­ers, videos and more.

The re­sources avail­able in­clude a look into the science of how peo­ple be­have in high stress events like ac­tive shooter sit­u­a­tions. They ar­gue that there are three phases of re­sponse— de­nial, de­lib­er­a­tion and the de­ci­sive mo­ment.

Disas­ter sur­vival re­searcher Amanda Ri­p­ley found that con­trary to the com­mon per­cep­tion of peo­ple pan­ick­ing and run­ning dur­ing such sit­u­a­tions, it was more com­mon for them to deny that the event was hap­pen­ing.

“It takes time for the brain to process the novel in­for­ma­tion and rec­og­nize that the disas­ter is a threat­en­ing sit­u­a­tion,” the site reads.

If a pre­ex­ist­ing plan is not al­ready in place for such sit­u­a­tions, that leads to greater stress and there­fore lim­its the body’s abil­ity to per­ceive in­for­ma­tion and make plans. The phys­i­cal ef­fects of that stress in­clude de­te­ri­o­rat­ing mo­tor skills, de­te­ri­o­rat­ing cog­ni­tive pro­cess­ing, tun­nel vi­sion and more.

“Freez­ing is al­most al­ways the wrong re­sponse,” the site reads. “It leads to a feel­ing of help­less­ness. When peo­ple feel help­less, their stress lev­els increase, which fur­ther hin­ders func­tion­ing. Tak­ing ac­tion – any ac­tion – can help give a sense of con­trol and help re­duce stress re­sponse.”

They ad­vise that once a de­ci­sion is made in that sit­u­a­tion, act quickly and de­ci­sively.

“Fail­ure to act quickly can re­sult in you re­main­ing in a po­si­tion to be in­jured or killed dur­ing an ac­tive shooter event. It is im­por­tant to know your sur­round­ings when you find your­self in a dan­ger­ous sit­u­a­tion. The faster we can get through the phases of de­nial and de­lib­er­a­tion, the quicker we will reach the de­ci­sive mo­ment and be­gin to take ac­tion that can save your life and the lives of those around you.”

“Freez­ing is al­most al­ways the wrong re­sponse. It leads to a feel­ing of help­less­ness. When peo­ple feel help­less, their stress lev­els increase, which fur­ther hin­ders func­tion­ing. Tak­ing ac­tion - any ac­tion - can help give a sense of con­trol and help re­duce stress re­sponse.” —From the Avoid, Deny, De­fend on­line re­source for sur­viv­ing ac­tive shooter sit­u­a­tions

(File photo)

Of­fi­cers from the At­lanta Po­lice De­part­ment’s APEX unit were on hand at the lo­cal vig­ils for the vic­tims of the June 12 shoot­ing in Or­lando.

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