Real-life scenarios help people prepare for active-shooter situations

Published: Oct. 23, 2017 at 8:21 PM CDT
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ALICE trainers say preparation is key when people are faced with a life-and-death situation at the hands of an active shooter.

Dozens gathered at Faith Lutheran Church Monday to take part in a two-day ALICE training.

Jay Krueger, president of the Faith Lutheran Congregation, has never been through an active shooter training before this week.

“I think everybody is always in that mode that it is somebody else’s problem, it is not going to happen to me, to our church, our school or our place of work, but it can,” said Krueger.

That mindset is changing said trainer Barbara Dorff.

“We used to have to spend the whole first day convincing people this was necessary, now we don't,” said Dorff. “Now we can spend a lot more time on what to do and how to implement it because people understand, and that is sad isn't it, but people understand now that it is necessary.”

The learning started in a classroom, but quickly moved to practical practice for the participants. All of them had to wear safety gear because the pretend gunman used a fake gun that shot pellets.

Four different scenarios were explored Monday, starting with ‘sitting duck.’ Decades ago, people were told to hide and huddle within a room. That is no longer advised, but in an effort to show participants why that is the case, they made them go through it.

Krueger said waiting for the pretend gunman to enter the room was pretty hard.

“I think the most emotional part about it is when you hear about some of the past events that have happened, Columbine and Sandy Hook, and to understand they were using older techniques, it wasn't their fault, they were just using older techniques and then to hear results of that, which are very horrific,” said Krueger. “It's not a positive feeling when you are sitting there.”

“What we don't want any more are people sitting in the dark corner, huddled together and just waiting to be killed,” said Dorff.

The second scenario encouraged participants to evacuate and the third was barricade themselves in the room trying to stop the pretend gunman from entering.

“Somebody in the room grabbed the table and flipped it upside down, now you have the top of the table up against the floor and you can push against that table,” said Krueger.

The last scenario was considered an ambush, where no one was expecting a pretend gunman, but Krueger’s day of training lead to a quick reaction to get to safety.

“I threw some devices at him to try to stop him, but he was too far away from me, so while they were swarming, my next reaction was to evacuate and get out,” said Krueger.

That is why Dorff said this type of training is so important.

“You do best what you practice and if you have thought about it ahead of time or practiced something ahead of time, you are going to be better able to do something in the moment,” said Dorff.