Faculty and staff at the Alabama School for the Deaf and the Alabama School for the Blind went through a training session this week with officers from the Talladega County Sheriff’s Department and the Talladega Police Department to help raise awareness about potential threats and responses.
The Department of Homeland Security has developed a teaching formula called “Run, Hide, Fight!” that is being used as the basis for teaching people how to increase their chances of surviving a situation in which someone is killing or attempting to kill people.
Eleven law enforcement officers from the Sheriff’s Department and the Talladega and Sylacauga police departments have been trained as instructors, and are offering their services to schools and businesses anywhere in the county. SWAT teams also participated in this week’s drills.
Sheriff Jimmy Kilgore said his instructors have conducted training sessions with two private entities and said the sessions this week were the first ones on school campuses, and he hopes others will participate also.
By going through a simulation drill, staff members at ASB and ASD learned more about how they would respond in a real emergency, and about the need to think about how they might want to respond if they are ever in such a situation.
The Department of Homeland Security advises to first decide if you can run to safety. If this is not an option, find a good hiding place, preferably behind a piece of furniture in a dark, locked room. Stay quiet, and turn off your cell phone. If the first two options fail, use your own discretion about when to engage the shooter. Look to see if something around you can be used as a weapon. Make a plan, commit to the action and act as a group if possible.
Training also involves how to respond to police when they arrive on the scene, when their first priority is to stop the shooter.
Participating in a drill allows staff to put that advice into practice and think about possible responses in more realistic terms. One teacher said the experience was one she would remember for a lifetime. Those memories will help raise the level of awareness of possible dangers.
The drills benefit law enforcement as well, as they become more familiar with layouts of buildings, and get to meet staff members.
We hope more schools and businesses take advantage of the opportunity to experience this training. The odds of an “active shooter” event happening at any one particular place are slim, but it is likely they will occur again somewhere. Those who have planned how to respond will have a better chance of surviving.