Years before 49 people were murdered at Pulse nightclub in Orlando in June, the Broward Sheriff’s Office has been training its deputies and command staff on how to handle active shooter situations. Scenarios have been staged at high schools, the county courthouse, the airport, port and other locations.
Now, BSO wants to train individuals on how to survive an active shooter.
Multiple active shooter response presentations have been scheduled, including one focused on the LGBT community. That presentation, which was scheduled in response to the attack in Orlando, will be held on Tuesday, July 26 at 6:30 p.m. at Fort Lauderdale High School, 1600 NE 4 Ave. After the presentation, a question and answer session will be held.
BSO Deputy Arik Levy said the presentations will instruct people on how to run, hide or fight.
The attack in Nice, France, in which a truck was intentionally driven into a group of people, also needs to be taken into account. “Its guns, its trucks, its axes, its hammers. Knives even. Somebody needs to have a plan. It’s easier if you have guidelines to fall back to and at least know how to make decisions.”
The key in any situation, he said, whether it be protection from a robbery or surviving a mass shooting, is situational awareness – knowing what’s around so you can best utilize it to survive.
Also important, Levy said the faster you make a decision the greater your chances of surviving.
“As soon as these situations start you have to imagine there’s an hourglass with the sand running out. That’s your window. The longer you delay, the less options you will have.”
Reducing distractions is also important, even in situations that occur more frequently. Someone distracted by a cell phone, for example, will make a more tempting target for a thief than someone paying attention to other people and their surroundings, said Levy. “We want people to come out to get this valuable information. You and your family need to be safe. Knowledge and forethought could mean [the difference between] life or death.”
Because of the violent content of the presentation, BSO recommends only individuals 18 or older attend.