Olive Branch Senior Center hosts active shooter safety presentation | News
Sergeant Tre Price with the Olive Branch Police Department spoke to local senior citizens about the importance of awareness concerning active shooter situations at the Olive Branch Senior Center on June 16.
Price provided a presentation about the different stages of an active shooter situation and explained different signs to look out for as well as ways to stay safe if involved in a shooting.
“There are a lot of different things to look out for,” Price said. “Today, I’m going to help you hopefully understand why some of these methods could help save your life or the lives of others.”
Throughout his presentation, Price encouraged senior citizens to look out for each other and report acts of aggression or violence to prevent them from turning into something more serious.
“We have to take care of each other,” Price said. “Especially in this heat, people tend to get more agitated. Make sure if you see someone acting differently, you’re willing to talk to them and see what may be wrong.”
Preservation and planning are a major part of being as prepared as possible for an active shooter threat. Price said the best way to be prepared is to pay attention to those around you and report anything that may seem suspicious.
“Part of being a responsible citizen is reporting things you might be worried about,” Price said. “I know sometimes things may seem irrelevant, but if you think that you may have witnessed something potentially dangerous, please reach out to the police or even administration here at the Senior Center. Our job is to keep you safe.”
Price also provided statistics of mass shootings across the country in 2021 including the one at a Collierville, Tennessee Kroger.
“There’s one we all remember, right?” Price said. “It had a casualty count of 15 which made it one of the worst ones last year according to the FBI.”
In order to feel more confident in the event that there is an active shooter threat, Price provided listeners with a three letter acronym to remember what they can do.
“ADD is one way we can remember it,” Price said. “Avoid, deny, defend. This is part of our response in case we are in one of these situations.”
Price said a problem that often arises in threatening situations is when people aren’t willing to leave others behind to get themselves out of danger.
“You deserve to live,” Price said. “If there is someone that doesn’t want to leave if you have that opportunity, you need to save yourself and get out of there. Help others if possible, but don’t hang around too long.”
Sometimes, when running isn’t an option, it is effective to deny the shooter access to yourself.
“If you find yourself in a situation where you cannot get out, there are still some things you can do to stay as safe as possible,” Price said. “You can lock and barricade the door, turn the lights off and stay as quiet as possible. It’s also important to remember to listen to what’s going on in case you may be able to offer useful information.”
Calling 911 is a vital part of response in shootings. Price said even if someone is unable to speak, they should still call 911.
“If you’re able to call 911 and whisper, that’s what you need to do,” Price said. “Even if you’re too close to the shooter, if you’re able to keep the phone on and let the dispatcher listen in on what’s happening, that could also help.”
Price said it is also extremely important to remember to silence cell phones if hiding from a shooter.
“You want to be as quiet as possible,” Price said. “If your phone makes a sound, that could give you away.”
A proper hiding place should be out of a shooter’s view, provide protection and not restrict movement options. Price said to look for features on the shooter that could set them apart from others.
“Sex, race, age, height, weight, hair color and style, facial hair, scars and tattoos are all things to pay attention to if you do catch a glimpse of the shooter,” Price said. “If you don’t know the answer to some of these, like weight or height, it’s helpful to compare them to yourself. So, if you know they’re taller than you, estimate how much.”
Protection can also come from defending oneself. Price said this decision takes courage, but sometimes it may be the only option.
“You may find yourself in a situation where you can’t run or hide and you have to find a way to defend yourself against the shooter,” Price said. “Anything can be used as a weapon. And, we don’t fight fair in situations like this. Go for eyes, throat, groin.”
Price said when law enforcement arrives, bystanders should stay calm and let the police do their job.
“You always want to keep your hands visible,” Price said. “When we get there, we’re looking for someone with a gun. Remain calm and follow all directions you may get from the police.”
Price said it is always important to be as prepared as possible for traumatic events like mass shootings.
“It’s good that we’re here talking about this today,” Price said. “Now, you all can take this information and educate other people about what they can do to be as safe as possible.”