Redmond police host mass shooting response training

In the wake of the largest mass shooting in the the country’s history, local law enforcement hosted a workshop on surviving a shooting in Redmond on Dec. 14.

The workshop was run by the Redmond Police Department and gave people information on how to better survive a mass shooting than the traditional “sit and shelter” advice.

According to FBI statistics, there has been an average of 16 mass shootings a year over the last seven years, with the majority occurring in a business, school or university.

Around 60 percent ended before police arrived.

Traditional responses to shootings prior to 1999 been to lock down and shelter during shootings, but police said they are trying to expand the responses people can undertake during shootings.

The failure of a simple shelter in place policy was shown to have disastrous effects even during the Columbine High School shooting in 1999 when students who hid under tables became easy targets for the murderers.

Redmond police presented the ALICE system, which stands for alert, lockdown, inform, counter and evacuate.

Sgt. Julie Beard is the community engagement officer and said the department has been providing ALICE training for years.

“We’re always looking for people to engage and not just wait, to take control of their own safety,” she said. “You have the right to fight for your life.”

According to the system, people in a mass shooting situation should be alert and listen to their instincts for situations that aren’t right.

Announcements should be sent out on campuses and in text alerts. For people on the phone with 911, they should stay on the line unless directed to do so or for their own safety.

The second step is to lock down and barricade rooms, which provide a time barrier against a shooter gaining access to a room.

According to the police powerpoint presentation, this doesn’t act as a full defense, and no one should be allowed into the room once a barricade has been built.

Information should be sent out in real time to people effected by the shooting and in harms way.

In a worst case scenario, if a shooter gets into a room, police said being a mobile target and staying on the move can make it harder for the shooter to hit people.

Police said not not hide under desks, in corners or along walls.

Distracting and swarming the attacker to disarm them is also an option, if possible.

“We tell people to move, to scatter and to make yourself a distraction for the person,” Beard said.

People can also use weapons of convenience against the attacker. These depend on the situation and can range from a laptop or book bag to a desk.

Finally, evacuation is an option as well, and people should think of the safest escape routes available based on information they receive.

The powerpoint made a note to follow commands from police since they won’t know who the shooter is.

People are also encouraged to practice their responses to these situations before they happen and to drill regularly.

Beard said the goal of ALICE training is to empower people to save their lives in a mass shooting.

According to MassShootingTracker.com, there were 10 mass shootings in Washington state in 2016 that resulted in 21 people dying.

The website only listed two in the state in 2017, with one dead and nine injured.

Nationally, this year marked the deadliest shooting in the country’s history when Stephen Paddock opened fire on a country music concert in Las Vegas, killing 58 and wounding nearly 550 people.

According to everytownresearch.org, there were 156 mass shootings in the U.S. between 2009 and 2016 resulting in 848 people being killed.

Domestic or family related violence was a prominent factor in the violence, with 54 percent of cases being related to these categories.

State Democrats have proposed legislation in the 2018 agenda to try and address gun violence.

These include a proposed permit for owning assault weapons and magazines that can hold more than 30 rounds of ammunition.

The permit would expire annually and violations could result in felony charges.

Other proposed changes to law would include closing loopholes that currently allow some domestic abusers to own weapons if they are found to be incompetent to stand trial.

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