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Categorized | Featured, News

Civilian Response to Active Shooter event

By Judy Reed

“You never think it’s going to happen to you. But it’s going to happen again. It’s always someone else’s community, and then someone else’s community, until it’s not.”

Deputy Tom McCullough explaining what to do in an active shooter situation. Photo by J. Reed.

Those words, paraphrased from a video of a parent at Sandy Hook Elementary asking people to be ready and help it stop, were a stark reminder to those attending the CRASE event Tuesday evening at Cedar Springs High School that a shooting can take place anywhere, at any time. Another event will held tonight, Thursday, April 25 at 6 p.m.

School Resource Officer Deputy Tom McCullough, of the Kent County Sheriff’s Office, gave an informative presentation Tuesday evening outlining how people can prepare for a high stress event, such as a shooting or a fire. “It’s about having a plan. If you go into a place, and something bad happens, it’s about knowing ahead of time what you can do. It’s to educate you so you are empowered,” explained McCullough.

Between 2000 and 2014, there were 179 shootings in public places. 

McCullough also encouraged parents to talk to their kids and convince them to tell if they know anything. “Before all of these shootings, someone knew about it,” he said.

He instructed people to always look for the various exits when they go anywhere—every time. And if they hear or see something happening that shouldn’t be, to get out quickly. “If you hear a loud noise, don’t walk toward it to find out what it is,” he said. “You leave.”

He also told parents that if the school is in lockdown and a parent gets a call from their child about it, they should NOT go to the school. He explained that there would be cops from all over the county on scene quickly and that they are there to neutralize a threat, not apprehend someone. “And we don’t know who you are,” he remarked. He noted that there would be a reunification spot and that parents would be notified.

McCullough added that if you are ever in a situation or come up on a scene where there is an active shooter, to do exactly what the police tell you. “If they tell you to put your hands up, you put them up. If they tell you to get on the ground, you get on the ground.”

McCullough went through several video clips of various situations and the circumstances and talked about what people did and what people can do in such an event. But the main thing is having a plan, so you don’t freeze during an emergency. You need to plan to flee, and if you can’t, to fight. “Your life is not expendable,” he said. 

If you missed Tuesday’s event, there is an event tonight, Thursday, April 25 in the auditorium at Cedar Springs High School. If you cannot attend, the Kent County Sheriff’s Office has been offering other CRAS Events throughout the county. Check out the events on Facebook. You can also go to http://www.avoiddenydefend.org and watch a video about surviving an active shooter event.

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