Staying alive

Active shooter training extended to business owners, residents

Multiple area business owners and residents took to Kyle Aug. 16 to learn how to better prepare themselves in the event of a possible active shooter situation.

It was all part of the Civilian Response to Active Shooter Events, or C.R.A.S.E, program led by Kyle Police Captain Pedro Hernandez. Created by the Alert Center in San Marcos, the program is an FBI accredited course that compiled criteria from the San Marcos Police Department, Hays County and Texas State University.

With the recent rise in civilian shootings in businesses and public schools, Kyle police offered the program to instruct residents on ways to prepare should such an event occur.

“The Columbine Massacre changed the way we looked at active shooting events and it was an eye-opener for the world, including law enforcement,” Hernandez said. “We weren’t trained for active shooting situations, but now, we are taught to go to the gunfight. Our initial primary goal is not to aid the injured or help people escape, but to stop the killing.”

Throughout the presentation, Hernandez reiterated run, hide and fight – three essential steps that could save one’s life during a shooting. 

Hernandez said it might be difficult to speak with employees, students and children about effective responses in case of an active shooter, but adequate education and quick thinking can save lives.

According to the Chicago Tribune, of the 10 deadliest shootings in the United States, all but one occurred in a town with fewer than 75,0000 people. The majority of the deadliest shootings in the country occurred in towns with populations fewer than 50,000.

Hernandez said these shootings can occur anywhere at any time, and training one’s brain to stay vigilant and aware is one of the only things people can do to prepare themselves. 

“In Kyle, our average response time is around three minutes, which compared to the rest of the country, is good,” Hernandez said. “But a lot of people can get killed in three minutes. What you do matters. When you go back to your office or home, be actively thinking about exits and different methods of escape.”

The audience was filled with a diverse pool of residents and members of the business community who feared that they too could be the victim of a shooting.

Among the crowd was Julie Snyder, CEO of the Kyle Area Chamber of Commerce. She said local business owners should be proactive in preparing for emergencies.

“Learning that the majority of violent incidents happen at businesses was an eye-opener for me,” Snyder said. “I also learned that people follow the actions of others, so in an emergency, when you’re prepared, you can take the action to help others work together in that decisive moment to protect themselves.”

Hernandez said 55 percent of shooters have some sort of connection to one of the intended victims. Mental illnesses can often trigger acts of violence. Reporting suspicious behavior to law enforcement can lead to a mental health evaluation if needed.

“Sometimes when people come in, they admit that they have violent motives and that can also save lives while getting proper medical treatment to that individual,” Hernandez said. “I can promise you that when you leave here today, you will see the world, your homes and offices differently, and that’s okay. Unfortunately, the world we live in is a lot different than it was years ago. But we must adapt.”

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