LIMA — Run. Hide. Fight.
According to Dep. Damian Tibbs, those three directives should be on someone’s mind should they find themselves experiencing a mass shooting. Tibbs covered the topic during his Monday afternoon presentation in front of the Rotary Club of Lima.
While mass shootings are rare he said, Tibbs encouraged business and other groups to have a plan in place just in case.
“If you have no plan at all,” Tibbs said, “then the casualty number is going to be much higher.”
While each plan will depend on each situation, there are some basics. Tibbs encouraged employees to get to know the layout they may work in, as well as the locations of nearest exits. Such reviews should also cover what doors are normally locked, so people can easily head in and out should a building need evacuated.
If a person cannot escape during an active shooting, Tibb encourages individuals to find a safe place to hide where one can lock a door. Once locked inside, individuals can put a heavy object in front of the door and turn off the lights to communicate to the active shooter that the room is empty.
While the incident is occurring, individuals should also be in contact with police officers and other co-workers — preferably as quietly as possible — to ensure others don’t come into the building while an active shooter is inside. Informing those outside to what is happening inside can also help coordinate officers moving throughout the building.
Another option, Tibbs said, is to coordinate with staff members to potentially remove the shooter if the opportunity arises. Many office items can be used creatively as weapons, and groups may be able to ambush a shooter at close range.
Those holding concealed carry licenses may also be able to subdue an active shooter, but Tibbs gave extra warnings that anyone deciding to exchange gunfire should be extra careful in making sure they don’t hit fellow co-workers.
When police officers do enter the building, anyone carrying a gun should disarm themselves and hold up their hands to show that they are not a threat.
While “Run, Hide and Fight” proved the main points of the presentation, Tibbs also debunked some common misconceptions about mass shootings. The first assumes that potential shooters signal they may commit a shooting through anger and violence, which may not always be the case. Other misconceptions include “a shooting won’t happen here,” “police will respond quickly” and that “staff members shouldn’t do anything.”
Instead, the only two ingredients to a mass shooting, Tibbs said, is the gun and an angry person. The rest of the variables may be up in the air.
“What you need is a gun and an angry person, and America has a lot of both of those,” Tibbs said.
Tibbs has taught a number of similar trainings — about 15 in the last year — with a number of diverse groups looking to create a more formal mass shooting plan. Groups interested in scheduling a free training through the Allen County Sheriff’s Office is encouraged to contact Tibbs through email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Reach Josh Ellerbrock at 567-242-0398.