After the recent terroristic attacks, it is natural to be concerned about our own preparedness and the best way to stay safe.
The Clovis Police Department has been training for years. “We’ve gone from school to school to talk about what to expect from first responders, what people can do, even before Sandy Hook,” says Sergeant John Willow. “We want people to respond, not just react.”
Police department personnel attend conferences on how to deal with a threat and work with federal partners like the FBI. As needs dictate, department equipment is revamped and improved. The Clovis Police work with the CUSD Police, the Fire Department, emergency personnel and local military to train and to put a plan together in order to deal with threats and to provide mutual training. Simulated role-playing, including mock injuries, are carried out in the same way a fire drill reinforces a practiced response.
Training is the same for everybody in the police department regardless of job description. They know how to respond and respond quickly. Time is of the essence. One lesson learned from the Columbine tragedy is a fast response saves lives.
Another lesson is the threat has its own agenda and does not negotiate.
“The hard thing is, you first have to deal with the threat, not the victims,” says Lieutenant Jorge Gomez. “The first wave is to take care of the threat. Later waves take care of the victims.
“Don’t be complacent. It could happen anywhere. We have a lot of targets here…soft targets like schools, businesses, public places. We learn from the past…there are different plans on keeping safe.”
The key is to be vigilant, be aware and be prepared.
Safety starts with being aware of surroundings and reporting anything that looks suspicious or out of place. Officers advise: If you see something, say something. The public is the eyes and ears of the police. Trust your instincts. Call 911.
It can take first responders an average of six minutes to arrive on scene. During that time, it is important each person be responsible for their own safety. Every situation is different. Have a plan in mind and be ready to change plans if necessary. There are three options to remember: Run Hide Fight.
- Be aware of exits and escape paths
- Should something happen, don’t freeze. Use an escape path.
- Leave belongings, help others if possible
- After reaching a safe place, prevent others from entering the area and call 911
- Act quickly and quietly
- Lock or block doors. Silence cell phones
- Hide behind large objects
- Be very quiet and stay out of view
- Improvise weapons
- Incapacitate the threat
- Act with aggression
First responders will not be able to tend to the wounded. They need to remove the threat. When first responders arrive:
- Be calm, follow instructions
- Keep hands visible at all times
- Avoid pointing or yelling
- Know that help for the injured is on the way
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