Civilian Response to Active Shooter Events
On July 25th, the Euclid Police Department offered Civilian Response to Active Shooter Events (CRASE) training to a room full of area business representatives. The event was hosted by Lincoln Electric in the beautiful new state-of-the-art Welding & Technology Center.
Training was presented by Kate McLaughlin, Community Policing Specialist for the EPD, and Officer Ed Bonchak, Community Policing Education Specialist for the EPD. Kate has been certified in CRASE through ALERRT and is also a certified crime prevention specialist through the Ohio Crime Prevention Association as wells as an intelligence liaison officer for Ohio Homeland Security. Ed is a retired law enforcement officer with over 40 years’ experience and is also a certified crime prevention specialist through the Ohio Crime Prevention Association.
While we hope we are never in a situation where we will need this training, statistics show that over 50% of attacks have occurred in commerce settings. We are all wise to have plans in place for emergency situations, including active shooter events. Here are a few tips:
- Watch the YouTube video by the ALLERT Center called “Surviving an Active Shooter Event - Civilian Response to Active Shooter” and share it with your friends, family, co-workers, and employees. This video uses the terms ADD (Avoid, Deny, Defend) which is the same concept as the Run, Hide, Fight terminology you may be familiar with. (Warning: this contains role plays of an active shooter event and 911 calls from actual events. While it does not show violence, some may find it disturbing to watch);
- Train your brain to remain calm and focused in emergency situations by practicing combat breathing. Simply put, combat breathing involves counting to four for each step of the breathing process. Breath in, count to four. Hold your breath, count to four. Exhale, count to four. This can also be used to calm your nerves in everyday stressful situations. By practicing this method every day, you will be able to more easily calm yourself down in an emergency;
- Practice Scripting. When you enter a worksite, a grocery store, or any public place, get into the habit of looking for the emergency exits. Be aware of your surroundings. For employers, this means also scripting out a plan for employees and customers to exit in emergency situations, knowing which rooms are best to hide in and barricade doors, and doing drills on a regular basis;
- Businesses should have a way for employees to safely report “suspicious behaviors” of co-workers, vendors, and customers. Prevention and detection is key;
- “Target harden” your business, property and yourself to stay safe. In other words, take steps to make it more difficult for an active shooter to enter your property or to enter undetected;
- Businesses can be prepared for emergency situations by training employees in First Aid and CPR and having grab-and-go first aid kits available;
- Check out resources available online at dhs.gov/active-shooter-workshop-participant and search online for the FEMA Comprehensive Preparedness Guide
The Euclid Police Department offers free business safety assessments as well as other valuable prevention services. Please contact Kate at (216) 289-8449 for additional information.
Sheila Gibbons, J.D.