REIDSVILLE, N.C. -- Rockingham County Sheriff Sam Page urges all civilians to prepare for active shooter situations, in light of recent shooting tragedies that have caused Americans to question the safety of their everyday whereabouts.
Page said the recent fatal shootings at a movie theater, schools,government buildings and malls are affirmation that though the probability of being in these situations is low, they can and unfortunately do happen all too frequently. He said active shootings last typically only seven to 10 minutes, leaving very little time to think or act. So, having a safety plan is crucial.
Thursday, Sheriff Page will hold a civilian demonstration course at 11:30 a.m. at the Golden Corral in Reidsville (1566 Freeway Drive). At that course he will reiterate a key three-step plan adopted recently by the FBI. It is called "Run, Hide, Fight," which is the name of a video funded by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and produced by Ready Houston after the deadly Aurora, Co. shooting in June 2012.
Page demonstrated, to WFMY News 2's Meghann Mollerus, these three critical steps. He explained people who find themselves in an active shooter situation should first and foremost try to run, if possible. He encourages everyone to make a habit of scoping out exit signs in each vicinity he or she travels to, so as to be able to quickly carry out this step in an actual emergency situation. Always attempt to evacuate and encourage others to do so, as well. He said try to prevent others from entering the area and call 911 when safely outside.
If running is not possible, step two--hide--is the next-best option. Page said act quickly and quietly to secure the hiding place. "Lock or block" should be the motto for securing doorways by which gunmen can access. Someone in the room then should turn off the lights, silence their phones and try to keep room occupants hidden and calm. The best hiding spots, Page stressed, are obviously out of the shooter's lines of sight.
The third step in an active shooter situation is to fight--the absolute last resort to be used only if lives are in danger. Page said look for objects in the room with which the shooter could be incapacitated. Weapons can be anything on hand, from a fire extinguisher to pepper spray to a pocket knife. The individual or individuals attempting to confront the shooter should act with physical aggression.
Page said Triad families with questions about this strategy or with interest in learning more about safety education opportunities can call the Rockingham County Sheriff's Office non-emergency line at 336-634-3300.