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Active shooter training for schools

January 23, 2013 - The video is startling.

A man is depicted walking into what appears to be a large office building, occupied by dozens of workers. In the man's hands is a large gun and as he aims at individuals in the lobby, shots and screams can be heard. People fall to the floor. Elsewhere in the building, employees are seen fleeing to exits, hiding under desks, and blockading doors. As the gunman approaches another room, a group of people inside are shown with improvised weapons, including a raised chair, preparing to fight for their lives.

The video is an enactment and no one was actually hurt or killed. This video can be found at the Oakland County Sheriff's Office website and will likely be viewed, by hundreds of school staff members in the next few weeks as they take part in active shooter training sessions put on by the Oakland County Sheriff's Office and the Homeland Security Division.

Personnel from the Brandon School District will be among those trained to deal with active shooter situations.

"Brandon will be sending staff members, but we're unsure how many," said Superintendent Lorrie McMahon. "It depends on how many we can get in. I think it's very pertinent for our schools at this time. After they attend, we hope to have them educate the rest of the staff on what they learned."

Homeland Security Division Manager Ted Quisenberry contacted Oakland Schools about collaborating on large-scale active-shooter training sessions for school personnel in Oakland County after the tragedy in Newtown, Ct. last month in which 20 students and six staff members were shot to death at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

Danelle Gittus of Oakland Schools said the training is being offered for free to every district in Oakland County, and training is also being offered to staff of local hospitals and healthcare providers.

"We are looking to provide the opportunity for local school districts to learn the best practices and response if there is an active shooter in or near a building," said Gittus. "We are encouraging districts to send a team of up to five or six individuals, including administration, front office staff, teachers, custodians and facilities staff. Those who are trained can teach others."

The active shooter training video, as well as a pamphlet on active shooter response, promotes "Run. Hide. Fight." Simply put, if presented with an active shooter scenario, individuals should escape the building if possible. If not, the training advises on how to hide to avoid a confrontation. If running or hiding are not options, the training instructs on fighting someone in an attempt to disarm them.

"Active shooter situations are unpredictable and evolve quickly, which requires people on the scene to be prepared both mentally and physically while waiting for law enforcement to arrive," said Sheriff Michael Bouchard.

Susan covers Brandon Township and Ortonville
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