In wake of Orlando Tragedy, Preparation in Active Shooter Situations is Key
On the early morning of Sunday, June 12th, 29 year-old Omar Manteen shot and killed 49 people in Pulse, a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida. Orlando Police were eventually able to neutralize Manteen after a standoff that lasted several hours. According to authorities, Manteen was an American born citizen from Fort Pierce, Florida who had pledged allegiance to ISIS. He carried out the deadliest mass shooting in modern United States history, and the tragedy has been described as the worst terror attack on our soil since 9/11.
The attack has led to speculation ranging from terrorist connections and hate crimes to questions of mental illness. The event has also led law makers across the country to discuss and push new gun legislation. Clearly, this tragedy has raised many serious questions in our country, and it will likely be some time before we have all of the answers. However, our local law enforcement offices have begun to discuss strategies for handling and responding active shooter situations, both from a law enforcement officer’s perspective and from a citizen’s.
According to WIS, Sheriff Leon Lott questioned his coworkers on the steps they would take in the event of such a situation. Their responses varied from “go[ing] under my desk” to “probably think[ing] it was electrical” and waiting for clarification. After their discussion, the Sheriff Department’s Community Action Team walked the group through what they need to know to protect themselves in an active shooter situation.
“Panic will set in,” Lt. Brown told the group. “And if you haven’t rehearsed or even talked about it, and you don’t know what to do, you’re going to hunker down and lay under a desk and pray for help and that’s not the way to do it now.”
He explained that the best course of action is as follows:
- First, try to avoid the attacker. If possible, get out of the building safely.
- If not, deny the attacker. This includes barricading inside a room. Use binders to jam the bottom of doors, or wrap a sturdy belt around the door handle to deny access.
- If you can’t deny access and are confronted by the attacker, grab anything in sight and use it to defend yourself.
While we certainly hope these actions are never necessary, being prepared and aware is always the best option. For those interested in taking civilian active shooter training, please contact the Richland County Sheriff’s Department here or at (803) 576-3000.
During this difficult and unfortunate time, our thoughts and prayers are with the people of Orlando, especially those in the LGBTQ community.