Active Shooter Training held at the Triad HHA home office
Article by Stacie Hart, Human Resources / Recruitment Analyst
The early morning of Monday, 11 July, there was a suspected “Active Shooter” event underway in the Groveport/Obetz area of Columbus. At that point, we had already been scheduled for an in-person Active Shooter/Aggressor (CRASE) training through the Franklin County Sheriff’s Department. While our instructor (Deputy Michael Fetherolf) was here conducting the class, I received a call from the Deputy’s supervisor asking for permission to send a media team over to film part of our training, in order to illustrate how the types of events of that morning on the South side affect employers in the area. We, Triad Home Health Services, were the example on that particular day, and we were happy to oblige.
The event on Monday turned out to be a domestic disturbance: a heinous murder/suicide at the workplace of a former romantic couple. You can learn more, and see the media content (video and a short article) by clicking on the link just above.
For benefit of a few of our office staff who were unable to attend the training in person, I sent an email afterward, for the purpose of sharing and highlighting many of the takeaways. We want to share this information with you now, and hope that you take a few moments to review. Then, please seriously consider making a plan for your response and actions in the event you would ever find yourself in a similar situation, whether in the workplace or elsewhere.
CRASE stands for “Civilian Response (to) Active Shooter Events”. Our training was interactive, with verbal quizzes throughout. The Deputy also showed actual video of the Columbine massacre, where we saw the shooters taunting victims. One victim’s cellphone was accidentally dropped while on the phone with 911, and then picked up by one of the shooters, who proceeded to taunt the 911 dispatcher and pretend to be among the victims.
The old “Run/Hide/Fight” model (called “ALICE”) is not endorsed by the Franklin County Sheriff’s Department. The main reason for this is that it fails to take into account the reality that many people who find themselves in an active aggressor or shooter situation tend to freeze, oftentimes rolling into a fetal position and dropping to the floor. Rather, we were taught to recognize the Avoid/Deny/Defend reaction that is part of human nature/lizard brain in these situations, which should lead to the desired state: The Decisive Moment. This is when action is taken to protect oneself, the most effective among them being locking and barricading the door(s). One of the more inexpensive devices is a vertical door guard which fits under the knob and hugs the floor, preventing or slowing entry. Deputy Fetherolf also suggested, in the case of outward-opening doors, to use ropes or other fabric to make a tactical cinch, unless you are alone in a room. This is because it may take at least two people to hold it in place and keep the tension tight in the event the attacker tries to breach.
The Deputy referred to the reaction of simply hiding under one’s desk to be “waiting for your turn to be shot”.
We learned that our windows in the office Conference Kitchen are in fact breakable. They are covered by a film similar to what is used on car windshields. We were advised to break from a corner, never from the center of the window. A few hits with something heavy (the Deputy suggested one of the metal shelves in the printer room) would do the trick.
The Deputy showed us multiple videos of actual active shooter scenarios and highlighted 10 or 12 heroes, by name (including a young school child), who thwarted attacks and saved lives. Some of these heroes gave their own lives in the process. Others were able to accomplish having zero deaths among the intended targets.
An “Active Shooter” event doesn’t have to involve firearms. Any time one or more persons attempt to kill multiple, unrelated individuals, even using a non-firearm such as a knife, car, or bomb, an Active Shooter scenario is underway.
As well, the definition of “mass shooter” is any scenario where four or more victims are injured by an attacker.
Neither domestic violence/aggressions nor gang-on-gang violence meet any of the above definitions. Those are distinct and handled accordingly by law enforcement.
The Deputy shared with us a website address containing multiple resources for Active Shooter Preparedness, and I hope we’ll all take a few moments to review the important information therein.
As well, he displayed the phone number for the Community Relations division of the Sheriff’s Department, which is: 614-525-4507. The sheriff can also be emailed at: email@example.com.
Deputy Fetherolf reminded us to report unusual or suspicious activities, and gave a tragic example of one where this was not done: one mass shooter (Virginia Tech) went to a firing range to practice beforehand. Rather than do the normal activity of shooting downrange at a paper target, he laid out posters of people on the floor, then proceeded to shoot at them in a line, carrying two handguns and walking between the two rows of posters. The firing range manager noticed this behavior but failed to report it. Subsequently, the shooter used this exact method to pick off students hiding under tables in one of the classrooms. The Deputy was certain to repeat the mantra, “If you see something, say something.” Doing so, you might just prevent an unthinkable tragedy from occurring.
We also discussed the way the Uvalde shooting was handled by law enforcement, and the failures in that scenario which contribute negatively toward public perception of the actions of law enforcement in ALL areas, states and jurisdictions.
As the Deputy reiterated to us many times during the class, and again during his interview with Channel 6, it is crucial we don’t put these types of eventualities out of our minds; rather, MAKE A PLAN to react to protect ourselves – not freeze, and possibly become casualties.
Thank you for taking time to review and digest this very important information. In this day and age and in light of recent events across the county, we really cannot be too aware, or too careful. As always, please know that the safety and wellbeing of each and every one of you is of paramount importance, every single day.
The Triad executive team