Locals prepare for shooter scenario

Published 12:05 am Friday, February 15, 2013

Rod Guajardo /| The Natchez Democrat — Warren County Emergency Management Director John Elfer leads an active shooter seminar in Natchez aimed at teaching community members how to prepare, respond and follow up during an emergency situation.

NATCHEZ — It only took 12 minutes for an armed gunman to kill as many people in Aurora, Colo., last year, and John Elfer told a group of Miss-Lou community members Thursday every minute makes a difference.

Elfer, who is the director of Warren County Emergency Management, led an active shooter seminar Thursday hoping to teach community members the need to prepare, respond and follow up during an emergency situation.

“The time of the incident is not the time to start figuring out where your exits are or what your plan is,” Elfer said. “You might already have plans for what to do in a fire or tornado, but you need to include an active shooter in that training too.”

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Preparing and planning, Elfer said, can be as simple as ensuring every employee knows where all the exits are in the building. Other measures include identifying safe locations to hide if and when someone was to begin opening fire.

“One of the most simple things is just making sure people know what gunfire sounds like,” Elfer said demonstrating a situation to audience members. “If it’s 9 a.m. in the morning and you’re drinking coffee in the teachers lounge and hear a loud banging noise you don’t recognize, you’re probably going to walk out into the hallway to check it out.

“Those seconds where you identify the sound, close and lock the door could be the difference in you being alive or dead.”

Elfer said companies without plans for an active shooter have a variety of resources in not only making one, but also having several experienced people review the plan.

Locally in Adams County, a local emergency planning committee led by Stan Owens and other law enforcement members is available to review any business or individual’s plan for any emergency situation — including an active shooter.

Fore more information on the committee, contact Owens at 601-442-7021.