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The Villages
Sunday, January 16, 2022

Villagers pack CERT training class on surviving an active shooter situation

Your grandchildren are enjoying the latest “Star Wars” movie with you at a theater. Almost every seat is filled. Just as the movie starts, you hear a series of loud bangs coming from somewhere in the building. You hear someone shout, “Shooter!”

What do you do?

Villagers packed a Community Emergency Response Team training session Friday afternoon at La Hacienda Recreation Center to learn exactly what they should do in such a situation.

Wayne Ward of CERT led the training exercise.
Wayne Ward of CERT led the training exercise.

CERT Training Officer Wayne Ward explained that several factors characterize active shooters. Sometimes they are acting out of anger and a sense of revenge. Sometimes they are acting out of ideological principles. Sometimes they are mentally ill.

Most people freeze when confronted with a dangerous situation. He related a situation that occurred when he was living in South Florida. He was in the shopping mall with his wife when he noticed a well-dressed man pull a pistol out of his suit coat and aim it into a store. He immediately grabbed his wife and told her they needed to leave.

It turned out that the man with the gun was a drug dealer who was having a disagreement with someone in the store.

Josephine Deja, Cecelia Yinger, and Steff Starnes, from left, were part of the CERT training.
Josephine Deja, Cecelia Yinger, and Steff Starnes, from left, were part of the CERT training.

Ward went on to explain that experts from different law-enforcement agencies have come up with a strategy for civilians to deal with active shooter situations. He recommended that when faced with such a situation, you should do the following:

• RUN. If you were being fired at you should run in and unpredictable manner to make it difficult for the shooter to hit you. If you’re fortunate to be in a situation where you can hear the shooter, but he cannot see you, you should move away from his area as fast as possible.

It is also recommended that you warn other individuals in the area about the shooter.

Once outside of the immediate vicinity of the shooter, call 911 and report the location of the shooter, the number of shooters if known, a description of the shooter as well as the number of victims.

In the event you were able to get away from the vicinity of the shooter you should make sure that any police officers you encounter can see that you aren’t carrying anything in your hands. He recommended that you keep your hands up in the air and that you carefully follow the orders of the police. Since the first order of business for the police is to stop the shooter, it is important that you cooperate. You need to distinguish yourself as not being the shooter.

• HIDE. In the event that you cannot flee from the area in which the shooting is occurring, Ward indicated the experts recommend hiding, preferably in a room which can be locked or the doors barricaded.

• FIGHT. The last option covered was to fight. This is only recommended if it is impossible to run or hide. In the event you have to fight it was recommended that you be as aggressive as possible. Throw things, use improvised weapons such as pens, scissors, or other heavy objects.

The Federal Bureau of Investigations has produced a video illustrating these techniques that you can watch here:

CERT will be offering additional classes in the near future.


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