SAN BERNARDINO (CBSLA) — It’s a sobering fact: mass shootings are no longer a rare tragedy.
For years, law enforcement agencies and first-responders have trained for active shooter situations. But it wasn’t until the 2015 attack at San Bernardino’s Inland Regional Center that deputies realized the public also needed to know what to do in a worst case scenario.
“Most people have never been around a truly violent situation, so they’re not going to know how to react. So that’s why you need to do this type of training,” San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Deputy Justin Lane explained.
Deputies say the shooting in Thousand Oaks is similar to the one at the Christmas party at the Inland Regional Center and the one last year during the Route 91 Music Festival in Las Vegas, noting in all of the tragedies, people thought they were in a safe environment.
“It can happen anywhere. It can happen at a movie theater, a library, at a school, at a business. So we want to get the public prepared,” Lane explained.
A video from the L.A. County Sheriff’s Dept. illustrates what many in law enforcement consider to be the best advice for people who encounter a gunman: run and try to get as far as possible from the threat. If that’s not possible, hide. And if that doesn’t work, fight.
“You need to make sure you are doing whatever it takes to survive for you and your family,” Lane said.
Experts also say people should also try to get in the habit of looking for exits when they’re in new places, and being aware of their surroundings.
“If you have a plan, you’ll have options and you’ll have a higher chance of survivability,” Lane added.
The next active shooter training session, which is free and open to anyone over the age of 14, is coming up in December. If you want to sign up, or ask the sheriff’s department for a training at your workplace or organization, contact email@example.com.