At Bath’s monthly neighborhood watch meeting on March 6, State Trooper Nathan Branosky held an active shooter training session. Residents learned about the “Run, Hide, Fight” method and how they can protect themselves in case an active shooter enters their workplace or school.
While Branosky acknowledged this is an “uncomfortable” topic, he added: “Unfortunately, this is where we are at in society.”
He said that the dangers of an active shooter are a “close second” behind the dangers of the opioid epidemic.
“If you do not have an active shooter policy at your workplace, you are wrong,” he said.
The State Police advocate the three-step “Run, Hide, Fight” method. Should a resident be in an active shooter situation, their first goal should be getting out of harm’s way. Only when they are out of danger should they prevent others from entering the building and call 911.
If it is impossible to flee the building, hiding is the next resort. Individuals should find a hiding place and secure its entrance by barricading it with heavy objects. They should also turn out the lights and remain silent.
Finally, if fleeing or hiding is not an option, Branosky said fighting back is the “last resort.” Individuals should look for ways to improvise weapons and commit themselves to attacking the intruder.
Branosky said another important way to protect oneself against an active shooter is to be more observant. He said individuals staring at their phones when they enter or exit buildings, get into their vehicles, and even sit at a restaurant are making themselves vulnerable. They will not be “good witnesses” and are missing opportunities to recognize exits should an emergency occur.
He also pointed out indicators of someone who is susceptible to violence. They include frequently arguing, being regularly absent from work or school, showing a lack of communication, or demonstrating dissociation.
He said if individuals notice someone they work or study with exhibiting these behaviors “day after day,” they should ask if they are alright.
“It is okay to ask,” he said.
He also said an obsession with guns and violence is another indicator of someone susceptible to being a mass shooter. Showing off guns on social media, he added, is a red flag.
Workplace arguments, domestic violence, bullying, and political motivation are leading causes of mass shootings.
Branosky added that the number of mass shootings are “going higher and higher,” with more than 250 incidents in the U.S. between 2000 and 2017 and 2,315 killed or wounded.
With these numbers rising, Branosky said it is important to be “proactive” by incorporating trainings into schools and workplaces and actually practicing those trainings.
“It is not worth anything unless you practice,” he said.
State Police provide free trainings for schools and workplaces. They also have the Bureau of Criminal Investigation Intelligence which can go onsite and “beef up” a business’s security plan.