As the number of mass shootings continue to increase across the country, public demand is increasing for training in what to do if one finds themselves in the middle of an active shooter situation. And the June 12 shooting at Orlando LGBT nightclub Pulse that left 49 dead and 53 injured called particular attention to the safety of patrons at LGBT establishments both here in Atlanta and beyond.
While the Atlanta Police Department has confirmed increased patrols and the presence of plainclothes Homeland Security officers at the city’s LGBT establishments, various metro Atlanta police departments are also offering workshops to the public on active shooter situations.
The Clayton County Sheriff’s Office has teamed up with the Clayton County Police Department to provide active shooter survival training to any business, place of worship or group that wants the training in Clayton County. The Marietta Police Department has held several active shooter survival workshops for civilians, the most recent being on June 20 at Marietta High School. The Atlanta Police Department held four workshops on the topic earlier this year and they tell Georgia Voice that there are plans to do another but they have not locked down a date yet.
Before mass shootings became so common, active shooter training was just for law enforcement officers. The Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training Program (ALERRT), which was created at Texas State University in 2002, has become the national standard in such training. The FBI adopted the program following the Newtown, Connecticut shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012 that left 27 dead.
As a result of increasing public awareness of such training and how to get it, the same team behind ALERRT created the Avoid, Deny, Defend (ADD) method for civilians. They’ve created a website for ADD that includes training materials, posters, flyers, videos and more. The Atlanta Police Department confirmed that they use the ADD method when hosting workshops on such training.
How To Respond When An Active Shooter Is In Your Vicinity
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) offers an online course in surviving active shooter situations, and the Department of Homeland Security offer workshops and a number of online resources on the topic. Their method is called Evacuate, Hide Out, Take Action, while the FBI’s is called Run, Hide, Fight, which are both variations on the ADD method. Here’s the Department of Homeland Security’s tips on what to do in an active shooter situation.
• Have an escape route and plan in mind
• Leave your belongings behind
• Keep your hands visible
2. HIDE OUT
• Hide in an area out of the shooter’s view
• Block entry to your hiding place and lock the doors
• Silence your cell phone and/or pager
3. TAKE ACTION
• As a last resort and only when your life is in imminent danger
• Attempt to incapacitate the shooter
• Act with physical aggression and throw items at the active shooter
How To Respond When Law Enforcement Arrives
• Remain calm and follow instructions
• Put down any items in your hands (i.e., bags, jackets)
• Raise hands and spread fingers
• Keep hands visible at all times
• Avoid quick movements toward officers such as holding on to them for safety
• Avoid pointing, screaming or yelling
• Do not stop to ask officers for help or direction when evacuating
Information You Should Provide to Law Enforcement or 911 Operator
• Location of the active shooter
• Number of shooters
• Physical description of shooters
• Number and type of weapons held by shooters
• Number of potential victims at the location
*Per the Department of Homeland Security