Gunshots were heard in the Century Center today, but don’t worry, it was all part of a training program.
Gibson, an insurance and security company, put on the “Securing & Surviving The Active Shooter Epidemic Seminar.”
It featured three different presentations, including one from former State Police Officer Andy Barker, who spoke to the crowd about how to deal with an active gunman.
It may puzzle some as to why Barker left his job as a trooper to give lectures, but Barker says he feels he can make a huge difference with a PowerPoint clicker instead of a gun.
“I left because after Sandy Hook, I realized that no matter what I did as an officer or how hard I trained, I was never going to be there on time, I realized that help has to come from inside out, not outside in.”
It was open to the public, but many who showed up work in law enforcement, insurance and education, and were interested in learning how they could deal with a live gunman while police were on their way.
The actual demonstration was over in about a minute, but the firing of blank rounds and performance by state troopers left an impression on the audience.
“You hear the old saying, a picture's worth 1,000 words, well I would argue a demonstration is worth 10,000,” said Barker, when explaining why he uses the realistic enactment. "When the bad guy came in and shot that first round inside the room. Everybody got at least a little bit of that feeling of panic that is going to happen.”
Barker said the three keys to surviving an active shooter are having a survival mindset and thinking about loved ones or your other reasons to want to make it out alive.
Second, he says it is important to control your body and be able to slow your breathing, manage the intense adrenaline, and be able to think clearly and avoid panicking.
“Then the third step is to be able to run, to hide, or to fight,” said Barker.
Hopefully no one will ever have to use the training they learned today, but Barker says even if you never encounter a shooter, it’s important always be aware of your surroundings.
“I think the biggest thing that any one individual could take away from this speech, was that idea situational awareness. Understanding what's going on around you, so that if something bad happens [you are] that much quicker to react.”
Barker is available to speak to schools and businesses, and if you would like to reach him, his email is Abarker@GibsonIns.com