OPINION: Active shooter trainings can be valuable for preparedness

Published 8:38 am Tuesday, July 31, 2018

We often use this space to encourage our neighbors, readers and community to be prepared for tragedies, natural disasters, emergencies and the like, reminding each time it is better to be safe than sorry.

This week, our management put that into action and took a proactive approach to prepare our staff for active shooter situations.

We hosted two active shooter training sessions — one for our day-shift employees and another for our night-shifters — with Winchester Police Chief Kevin Palmer presenting some valuable information to our staff.

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Similar trainings will be taking place across our company, largely in response to the recent shooting at The Capital Gazette in Annapolis, Maryland. The shooting happened June 28. The suspect, later identified as a Jared Ramos, who was a disgruntled reader, killed five Gazette employees, injured many others and left long-lasting emotional wounds for dozens of others.

Because this shooting occurred in a newsroom, the fear hit closer to home. But with news breaking of mass shootings far too regularly, it seems only appropriate to prepare our staff for the worst.

Palmer shared information from FEMA about the likelihood of shootings, signs to watch for in friends, family and coworkers that might signal they are planning something like a shooting and how to respond if an active shooter situation arises. Those tips can be found on FEMA.gov, but nothing is better than hearing it from our local law enforcement first hand.

Palmer can offer similar sessions for other local businesses, and the Clark County Sheriff’s Office offers church security seminars periodically. As Palmer noted, the conversations can be tough and uncomfortable, but they are necessary.

We encourage local businesses to take advantage of this service. These seminars can be the catalysts for a larger conversation in your workplace about how to be best prepared.

Editorials represent the opinion of the newspaper’s editorial board. The board is comprised of publisher Michael Caldwell and managing editor Whitney Leggett. To inquire about a meeting with the board, contact Caldwell at 759-0095.