LUBBOCK, Texas — Following the tragic mass shooting in Boulder, CO earlier this week, and the others before that, Lubbock officers are reminding us of being prepared in the event that we find ourselves in an active shooter situation.
“We can’t just naturally be expected to know how to respond to a mass shooting, somebody does have to come and teach you about it,” said Lubbock Police Corporal Chris Paine. “What we like to promote is, is that you visit the mindset of awareness on occasion.”
Paine has traveled all across the country providing active shooter trainings that are designed to teach the average, unarmed citizen what they should do to protect themselves wherever they might encounter an active shooter.
“Odds are overwhelmingly in your favor already to survive a mass shooting incident,” said Paine. “But then when you add training, and preparation and specifics in planning, chances, chances for us to be overwhelmingly successful, they increase a hundredfold.”
He said that avoiding, denying and defending are key components of staying safe. Avoid means finding an exit plan – look at your surroundings and keep in mind an escape route when you’re in a new place.
“Avoiding, obviously, you would want to be away from the trouble from any physical harm, but it’s more than just getting away it’s identifying avenues of escape it’s taking micro-actions,” he explained.
Taking micro-actions means spotting additional exits to identify a shorter escape route instead of going out perhaps a more recognizable exit.
“As I walk into a restaurant, or as I enter the grocery store, as I take my seat at your church service, I take a look around and I noticed the different avenues of escape that might be available,” said Paine. “I take a look around and I notice what obstacles might be in my way should I need to escape and I take notice of the people that are around me.”
If you can’t get away, deny access to your location by locking the door or barricading it.
“That might mean not only locking a door, but barricading. It might mean creating obstacles that are placed between you and that suspect there’s, there’s action involved in that sequence,” said Paine.
If you must, defend yourself. Nearby objects like staplers, coffee pots or scissors can slow down an attacker and save lives in a crisis.
“If I take my belt off and swing the buckle around like a weapon, what I can do with a pair of scissors, or what I can do with a pot of boiling water, or hot coffee, what I can do with a fire extinguisher,” said Paine.
Paine also said that controlling emotions is crucial – planning and not panicking can mean the difference between life and death.
“The fear, the sadness, the anger, there’s just a wide range of emotions. And we help to cover that in a controlled environment, a controlled training environment, so that you’re not for the first time experiencing that live as it’s happening,” said Paine.
Paine did a training at the Plains Cotton Cooperative Association – they said it made a big difference in the business’ confidence.
“He told us, how we would feel what would go through our minds what would happen to our hearing physically what would happen to us,” said Jane Owens, Human Resources Director at PCCA.
After the training they installed specific door locks and more video cameras – which can actually help officers too in the case of an active shooter crisis.
“That gave the employees a better awareness of what their body and their senses would be doing so that they could work through those emotions and those physical restraints that they had on themselves in order to get out and be safe,” said Owens.
Next time you’re out and about consider: avoid, deny, defend.
“The first time you experienced something like that, relating to a mass shooting should be in a training environment,” said Paine. “So that we can equip you, prepare you for those emotions, and then go from there with our with our planning process.”