If we were having coffee right now, I’d tell you about the exciting day I had yesterday. We’d been hearing rumors for a couple of months, and then were advised a couple of weeks ago to sign up for one of the training sessions offered. What were we being trained on? So glad you asked. How to survive an active shooter situation.
In preparation for the drill but ahead of the training we were given these instructions:
- Do not bring any weapons inside the building.
- Do not call 911.
- Do not tackle or attack the police officers.
OK now, first of all, I understand we have a right to carry in this state. But the thought that some of my co-workers might be packing on a regular day is not comforting at all. And do they really have to tell us not to actually call 911? I wasn’t expecting anyone to get so caught up in the excitement that they forgot it was just a drill. I was a little confused by #3. Why would we try to tackle the police? But then I realized that by “police” they meant the police officer who was playing the “bad guy” role. During the training they told us that if we chose to defend ourselves, to just put two fists up in the air. This would be the signal that if this was a real situation we would be engaged in some kind of physical battle.
Based on what I saw, I think most people decided to flee the scene. We were all on edge, waiting for the shooter to make his move. During the training session they repeated a couple of times that the drill would take place in the afternoon. Should have known they were trying to catch us off-guard. The “attack” began a little after 11 am. I didn’t hear shots fired, rather I heard a sudden commotion down the hall and as I jumped up from my chair I saw everyone dashing for the exit near me. I looked quickly to see if Doug was at his desk and he was headed my way with everyone else, headed for the door. I moved quickly to join everyone and then heard shots and everyone picked up speed. We ran to the door and kept running once we got outside. I joined the group heading for the tree line and hid behind the trees. I guess in a real situation we would have kept running, but we all stopped there and waited. Every once in a while we would hear more shots fired. Still, we waited, looking for signs of the response team. Turns out they were already there and caught the shooter in about eight minutes. Those eight minutes felt like at least half an hour.
How would I have responded if this had been real? What would I do if this happened while I was grocery shopping? Or attending an event with large crowds and no place to hide? I have no idea. I don’t think I’m any more ready now for those situations than I was before the training or this drill. I might be slightly more prepared for a workplace shooting only because now I have taken inventory of my surroundings and evaluated exit strategies and places to hide. Don’t have anything at my desk with which to defend myself, but I guess at least I know that much now. But what happens if the “bad guy” is already inside?
Think I might need another cup of coffee.
Written for WordPress’s Finding Everyday Inspiration course. Day 11: A Cup of Coffee