Active Shooter: SALT/TRIAD Trains Seniors to Stay Safe
By Cassandra Favre
Mar 17, 2017, 18:03
During the active shooter presentation, seniors enjoyed a meal.
Hancock County senior citizens on Wednesday learned suggested methods of handling themselves during an active shooter situation.
Hancock County's SALT Council hosted the program and member John Ohman gave the presentation.
Ohman said most of his information came from the Office of Homeland Security's website and from an FBI report.
There is no watch, warning or notice of an active shooter situation until it's begun, Ohman said.
He said there is a very low probability any of the people in the class would ever be involved in an active shooter situation.
From 2000 to 2013, there were about 160 active shooter situations in the U.S., he said, with 1,043 victims killed or wounded.
All but two of the incidents involved a single shooter, Ohman said. In nine of the incidents, the shooter shot and killed a family member before moving to a more public location, he said.
There are six instances of female shooters. In 64 incidents, the shooter committed suicide; 54 of those were at the scene, Ohman said.
U.S. government agencies define an active shooter as an "individual actively engaged in killing or attempting to kill people in a confined and populated area," and the subjects use a firearm, Ohman said.
An active shooter generally uses firearms and there's no pattern to the method of selected victims, Ohman said.
"The situation evolves quickly and typically, the immediate deployment of officers is required to stop the shooter," he said. "However, I think it's 40 percent or more active shooter incidents are ended before the police arrival. Suicide of shooter is one of the main causes, but there have been citizens either armed or unarmed, either alone or in conjunction with law enforcement."
"Run, Hide, Fight," is the general instruction for an active shooter situation, Ohman said.
The idea of running is to distance one's self from what's happening, he said. Leave belongings behind and follow instructions of law enforcement officers when they arrive, he said, and call 911 when safe. He advised seniors to be prepared to tell the dispatcher important details about the shooter, weapon description and the number of potential victims.
"If you can't run, hide," Ohman said. "If you can't do either, fight as a last resort."
The hiding place should be out of the shooter's view, he said. There is soft and hard concealment, he said. An example of soft concealment would be behind a curtain, he said.
"But remember that soft concealment won't stop any bullets," Ohman said. "Cover is when you put something between you and the shooter which has a chance of stopping or at least slowing down the bullets."
When hiding, Ohman said, "try not to trap yourself," and if you can get behind a door, lock it.
Ohman said to make sure to silence sources of noises such as cellphones.
"If evacuation and hiding are not possible, dial 911 if possible to alert police to the active shooter's location," Ohman said. "If you cannot speak, leave the line open."
Ohman said fighting is a last resort and should only be considered if one's life is in imminent danger.
"Act as aggressive as possible against this person," he said. "Yelling might help. Throwing items and improvising weapons."
Ohman pointed out items in the room that seniors could use as weapons, including a walker, chairs, and a fire extinguisher
Ohman said the Homeland Security website details how people should respond when law enforcement officers arrive on site.
"Their purpose is to stop the active shooter as quick as possible," he said. "Don't interfere with them. Put down any items in hands. Immediately raise your hands and spread your fingers. Keep your hands visible at all times. Avoid making quick moves towards the officers. Avoid pointing, screaming or yelling."
Ohman said to not stop officers and ask for evacuation directions, but proceed to the area where officers are entering.
If people have to fight, Ohman said, "What if you have a gun?"
"The odds are against you doing any good with that gun," he said. "There's a chance here that arriving law enforcement may take a dim view of you having a gun in your hand."
Ohman told the seniors to remember that the advice to fight is if there's no alternative.
"Most people in firearms training say that in a traumatic situation, life-threatening situation with a firearm, you shoot 50 or 60 percent of the best you do in practice," Ohman said. "Don't be too sure. Remember, you're responsible for where that bullet goes.
ôSkill with a firearm is not like swimming, it's a skill that you lose very quickly if you don't practice."
SALT is short for "Seniors and Law Enforcement Together," SALT/TRIAD Chairman Jim Thriffiley said. TRIAD is short for "The Right Information and Direction."
The group works in conjunction with the Hancock County Sheriff's Office, SALT/TRIAD liaison Frank McNeil said.
Throughout the year, SALT/TRIAD hosts free informational programs for seniors on a variety of topics, McNeil said.
For more information about SALT/TRIAD, contact the Hancock County Sheriff's Office at 228-466-6900 and leave a message for Frank McNeil.