Staying safe in active shooter situations: Local company shares 3 tips to help you survive

Posted at 4:25 PM, Jun 13, 2016
and last updated 2016-06-13 19:02:36-04

It's a three-option approach: lock out, get out or take out. Lock the intruder out, get out of the space where the shooter is on the attack or take out the person posing the threat. 

Vaughn Baker spent more than 20 years in law enforcement, including time on the SWAT team. Now, he runs Strategos International with a friend who spent 25 years in law enforcement. The Grandview-based company started in 2002, training law enforcement on active shooter protocol.

"And then in 2007 an event occurred that really caused us to change our focus," Baker said. He's talking about the Virginia Tech shooting, where 32 people were killed. That was the moment their company expanded to offer training for schools, businesses and more. 

"We really saw the need to train what we now term as the true first responder, the people that are on scene when the event occurs. Success or failure is more likely going to be up to them," Baker said.

The four-hour course starts with instruction, then a walkthrough of the building to determine good places to escape and ends with simulations of the real thing. Baker says this strategy works, "Whether you're at work, you're at home, you're at your place of worship or you're out recreationally at the movie theater or the Royals game, the principles will still apply." 

In Kansas City, Jeff Edmondson, the owner of Hamburger Mary's, is emotional after the tragedy at Pulse in Orlando.

"It's hard not to take it personal and not to be devastated by that. That could happen to us," Edmondson said.

Although his restaurant, a local favorite, has never seen tragedy like that, he says it has sharpened his mindset. "I naturally have to think, well what's the possibility that someone could come in here and do something like that," he said.

Beefing up training for employees and ensuring people know where to go should a situation arise has become a greater priority. "It's sad that we're at a place where we have to think about those things. It shouldn't be the case," he said. 

For Edmondson the takeaway is, "This shouldn't necessarily be a gay situation. It should be a humanity situation. This is not how we need to be toward each other." 

Baker's company has trained more than 80,000 people across 15 countries, including local schools, businesses and law enforcement officers. You can learn more about the training here.



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