SIDNEY — “Run-Hide-Fight — Surviving an Active Shooter Event” was the message of a seminar presented by the Sidney-Shelby County Chamber of Commerce, in partnership with the Sidney and Piqua Police departments in Sidney, Wednesday morning.
Sidney Police Officer Mike McRill and Piqua Police Deputy Chief Marty Grove presented the two-hour active shooter seminar based on the Run-Hide-Fight program. It is similar to the Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, Evacuate (ALICE) national program that typically is a three- to four-hour class.
McRill and Grove have conducted survival seminars for a number of years for various organizations, businesses, schools and churches. Wednesday morning’s seminar included a realistic reenactment video of a variety of potentially violent scenarios. Instructors led approximately 40 people through step-by-step, planning options for surviving the “unthinkable.”
McRill said if someone is ever in an active shooter situation, he needs a plan to survive. The ability to run, hide or fight are the three things, he said, that will make a difference and potentially save someone’s life.
“I want people to know what options are available to them should they find themselves in a situation like that; understanding that they have options of running, hiding and fighting and they may need to choose one option or another or change options midstream,” McRill said. “I want them to realize what things are available to them so they don’t become a victim.”
Grove said the Columbine High School shooting changed law enforcement’s mindset about how to handle an active shooter. Now, the first officer on the scene goes in opposed to waiting for the SWAT team because every 30 seconds of an active shooter situation someone is shot, he said.
The main goal is to evacuate as soon as possible, but one may need to barricade, or even defend them self as options run out. The main ways to achieve these goals are:
• Always be aware, alert and mentally prepared for a “what if” type of scenario.
• Use plain language, not codes, when explaining what is happening to everyone; name the shooter, if known.
• Find all potential exits (other than main “choke points” of entrance), weapons and items for barricade use.
• Consider cover versus conceal options. Wisely choose objects to provide bulletproof cover and/or concealment.
• Evacuate as soon as possible. Look for alternative exits such as service and maintenance entrances, including windows.
• Secure your location when escape in not an option. Lock down by turning out lights, lock and tie down doors in any way possible and block entrances with anything available to barricade doors.
• Help others when safe to do so. Utilize first aid kits/trauma kits.
• When necessary, employ any type of weapon, from a stapler to a fire distinguish to stop the shooter. Make sure the shooter does not get up by any means by committing to your actions.
• Contact with law enforcement should be cautious. Remember their main goal is to stop the threat first. Keep your hands in plain sight and do not make any aggressive moments.
• Rehearse. Mentally and physically practice. This will help you act quickly and effectively.
“If someone comes into your business … and starts shooting, you can do something. You can throw hot coffee on them, water, car keys … anything,” Grove said, as an effort to interrupt their focus. “If somebody comes into this room and starts shooting without warning, yes, people are going to get hit; possible casualties, wounded, killed. But not everybody. You’ve got to be ready to react.”
McRill said the worst thing someone can do is nothing. He concluded by quoting President Theodore Roosevelt, “In any moment of decision, the best thing you can do is the right thing, the next best thing is the wrong thing, and the worst thing you can do is nothing.”
Donald Hook, treasurer of the Sidney-Shelby County Senior Center, said he thought the seminar was “great.” He said it made him rethink the way offices are set up at the Senior Center, their evacuation technique and how to lock-down doors.
McRill said if anyone notices something that doesn’t seem right and is nonconfrontational, it should be reported to Crime Stoppers at 937-492-TIPS (8477). He said in most cases, someone knows about an act before it happens because something seems “off.”
Run-Hide-Fight survival videos are available to be viewed on YouTube.com.
For information or to set up a program for a business or organization, contact McRill at 937-498-8922 or at firstname.lastname@example.org, Grove at 937-778-2032 or email@example.com or Lt. Cori Steiner at the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office at 937-494-2109 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Reach the writer at 937-538-4823.