COLUMBUS, Ohio –
The Whitehall Police Department and Defense Supply Center Columbus teamed up to hold active shooter response training Jan. 14 inside the Building 20 Auditorium.
A packed house listened intently as Whitehall SWAT team member Sgt. Chad Huntzinger explained what actions the workforce should take in the immediate moments after an active shooter situation unfolds.
“Make sure you have a plan,” Huntzinger said. “You’re used to sitting at a desk not thinking about this type of stuff. I’m here to change your mentality and start the preparation process.”
The focus of the training was explaining how associates need to gain a mindset that the onus is on them to survive an active shooter situation. While officers trained for these situations aren’t far behind once a 911 call is made, an immediate response by those in a building with a shooter is key to survival.
“Your survivability is solely your responsibly at the onset,” Huntzinger said. “The best chance you have for surviving an incident is by taking control of your own destiny.”
Discussing the Run-Hide-Fight principle, the sergeant went into detail about each step and how having a plan and practicing that plan increases your odds of living another day. Associates can start by looking around their desk or cubicle to see where exits and pathways are, as well as places to hide in case they have to barricade themselves.
“In almost every situation, people who took charge of their own destiny and found a way to get out, or at least barricaded themselves someplace, survived,” Huntzinger said.
A critical element of the training was ensuring employees know how they can help law enforcement officials eliminate the threat. Knowing what to look for, what to listen for, and what you’re expected to do is of upmost importance during the crucial moments when officers arrive. Some things to plan for:
• When you see an officer, have your hands up so they don’t view you as a threat
• Provide clear instructions on when’s the last time you heard shooting and where it was located.
• Answer any questions, even if they seem unimportant. They are looking for specific intelligence
• Don’t impede an officer from doing their jobs. Yes it’s going to be crazy, you’ll be scared. But they are not going to take the time to explain anything to you. If you are in the way, they are going to get past you.
• All they want to do first is eliminate the threat. They won’t start aid on the injured until the shooter is secured. Not that officers don’t care, but they are trying to save lives by getting to the shooter.
Videos were shown with actual footage from incidents in Mumbai and Russia and an intense re-creation of the Columbine shootings, leaving an impression on the stunned audience.
“That Columbine video was sobering,” Mark Lucas said. “It was scary and educational at the same time. I immediately recognized that I need a plan.”
DLA Land and Maritime officials plan to continue holding active shooter training throughout the year so associates are prepared in the unlikely event a situation like the one recently in San Bernardino occurs in Columbus.
“As the installation and DLA Land and Maritime commander, I don’t have any higher priority than the well-being of everyone on this installation,” Navy Rear Adm. John King said. “I take that very seriously, and today’s training is just another example of that. I want everyone to feel safe and your families to know you’ll be safe at work.”
For more information on how to protect yourself during an active shooter situation, go to fbi.gov or dhs.gov.