How active shooter training helps save lives


COLLEYVILLE, Texas (NewsNation Now) — A safety expert says there are steps you can take to better protect yourself during emergency situations, like last weekend’s Texas synagogue attack.

A rabbi at the synagogue credited past security training for getting him and three members of his congregation out safely during the standoff.

“It’s not just every church and synagogue,” said Steven Smith, a police officer and threat response expert. “It can be schools, private businesses, the public sector. We are starting to see that these things happen anywhere at any given time.”

NewsNation obtained FBI active shooter training video from inside a place of worship.

“Preplanning will shorten your reaction time and help overcome the tendency to freeze,” a narrator in the video says.

Smith, who works with Guardian Defense, says worshippers should always start by fully taking in their surroundings and have a mental plan in case of a threat.

“Before the service starts, instead of maybe looking on my phone, take 30 seconds and look around,” Smith said as he walked into a closet. “Look at your exits. Look at other rooms you can isolate in. If we were in this open air environment, another option is I can isolate into a room. So I can close this door off from this problem. Some of the training we provide is knowing how it opens from the outside. And in order to barricade this door I am going to start building layers of resistance.”

If there are no “layers of resistance” and you find yourself in a situation like the Texas rabbi, Smith says that is when you have to fight.

“Grab something that has some weight to it,” Smith said. “And an option is a chair like this. And when I do commit to this option to defend myself and my life and other people’s lives, I want to commit to it and really target the head on that threat. I am looking for incapacitation — achieving that so it completely stops the threat.”

When to fight, Smith says, depends on the situation.

“It depends on how the person is feeling and what is actually going on,” Smith said.

Survival training, Smith said, “gives you the empowerment and confidence like the rabbi had to make a decision and stick to it.”

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