Mike Bewley, Austin, Texas, public works safety manager, provided a detailed analysis of “Run, Hide, Fight” for safety professionals.
Stefanie Valentic EHS Today | Jun 12, 2019
Six months into 2019, the United States is experiencing an average of two mass shootings per month.
Mike Bewley, safety manager at the public works department of Austin, Texas, conveyed the importance of preparing workers for active shooting incidents to Safety 2019 attendees.
According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), a mass shooting is defined as an incident in which four or more lives are claimed by the perpetrator.
The shooter’s main goal is multiple casualties in a short span of time. The majority of mass shooters strategize for years before taking action. They are not looking to take hostages and they are not looking to negotiate, Bewley said.
“These guys know they’re on the clock, and law enforcement is going to be there in about 10 minutes,” he said. “Because of that, they’re not going to stop searching for victims. He’s probably going to shoot everything in sight.”
Bewley’s insights into the “Run, Hide, Fight” preparedness method provided attendees a basis for their emergency response plans.
“The goal is to get those sirens inbound to your location,” Bewley said. “When the shooter hears those sirens, they’re going to think more about shooting themselves than shooting others.”
“There’s magic words that generate a response to a police department,” he explained. “If you say ‘active shooter,’ you’re going to get an overwhelming response.”
“Do not hide under your desk or table,” he cautioned. “You need to tell your employees that. The shooter knows you’re hiding.”
“Many persons have survived the initial shooting by playing dead,” he said. “However, the shooter will often return and shoot everyone again.”
“The shooter is not prepared to fight you,” Bewley told attendees. “He is counting on you to freeze when he points the gun your way. Don’t just stand there and let yourself get shot.”
“If you attack the weapon, you take away all of its power,” he explained.
Bewley completed the presentation by stressing the importance of training workers to treat injuries in an active shooting situation. This, he said, could both assist law enforcement and save lives.
“It’s up to us to train our people to be immediate responders and take appropriate action,” he said.
A patient collection point should be established at the front of the building. In addition, workers should attempt to evaluate victims’ wounds and stop further bleeding. Once that is completed, victims should be placed in a recovery position so law enforcement and medical responders know they have been evaluated.
“Unfortunately, we need to have these conversations because the threat is evolving,” Bewley concluded.
Source URL: https://www.ehstoday.com/emergency-management/safety-2019-active-shooter-survival