Submitted By Larry Hartman
Active Dril on October 5, 2023
Are you ready for the unexpected? I am speaking of an “active shooter” incident. We see it in our news at least once per week. And yet, it seems like a farfetched scenario to this community. But we recognize that most active shooter incidents have been totally unbelievable. Should we be ready?
On September 14, nearly twenty Grace members assembled in the Fellowship Hall for a presentation by Jim Pacetti of the Naperville Police Department. He presented a program called ALERRT from Texas State. Since the slides have a copyright, I cannot share them here. But I can provide a quick overview as long as you understand that I am not a law enforcement member.
If there is a “typical” attacker, he/she might have the following characteristics: no known law enforcement profile, an avenger mindset, and/or announcing their intentions on social media. This person may have a history of violence or been exposed to violence; be a substance abuser, mentally unstable, or suicidal; have a history of stalking or harassment; and/or have experienced negative family dynamics and isolation. In 61% of cases, there is no connection between the shooter and his/her target.
Active shooter incidents are most likely to occur at a business (50%), followed by outdoor venues (20%), schools (15%), and others including churches (15%). We are fortunate to live in a community with an average police response time of 5 minutes. Officer Pacetti gave us some good advice toward surviving a situation until the police arrive.
First, it’s important to realize that stress in the time of an emergency harms our ability to think clearly. That is why it is important to practice, or drill, or be aware in advance of the possibilities. It is helpful to calm oneself, take some deep breaths, etc. to fight the impacts of stress.
Second, when an active shooter event takes place, one should leave the area as soon as possible. This is also called “avoid” or “run.” Then, call 9-1-1 when it is safe to do so. Just as we should know where emergency exits are located for a fire emergency, we should have awareness of how to escape a space during an active shooter incident.
Third, if you can’t leave the area, do what you can. Lock the door, block entry, turn the lights off, stay out of sight, and assemble any barricades. Use anything you can to keep the shooter out. This is called “deny” or “hide.”
Fourth, if it’s inevitable that the shooter is upon you, fight back. This can be as simple as throwing objects to divert the shooter, grabbing his/her arm, any kind of distraction, etc. More casualties result when victims are passive. This is called “defend” or “fight.”
Thus the sayings: AVOID → DENY → DEFEND as well as: RUN → HIDE → FIGHT are good to remember.
Join us for the follow-up presentation by Officer Pacetti on Thursday, October 5 at 1:30PM. He will apply these concepts to Grace UMC with an active DRILL! If you missed the other session, please come anyway!
If you have questions, please contact Larry Hartman at LEHartman@sbcglobal.net.