VALDOSTA, Ga. (WALB) -With a rise in mass shootings around the United States, a South Georgia nonprofit organization is partnering up with police to bring some training to the community.
Living Bridges Ministry and Valdosta police are working together to teach the community what to do if they ever find themselves in an active shooting scenario.
“It’s important information to have. If you are out to eat with your families, or you’re out at the movie theaters, you’re out at the grocery store, your kids are in school or whatever, that they have some idea of what to do and not caught completely unaware off guard by a situation like that,” said Darcy Gunter, Living Bridges Ministry Director.
The course, called “Civilian Response to Active Shooter Events” is designed to teach the best things people can do to reduce injuries and protect themselves.
Gunter tells us they hosted their first full class in March. Since then, the number of mass shootings around the country has increased.
She says it was a good time to bring the class back.
“We just felt like one of the things, one of the responsibilities we have to our volunteers and our clients is providing them a safe environment and with the world these days,” said Gunter.
From university students, pastors, air force members, to concerned moms with their kids, participants come from different backgrounds.
All with one goal, to learn and feel prepared in a bad case scenario.
Officer Randall Hancock with the Valdosta Police Department teaches the course.
He reviews how the body reacts in high-stress conditions, the history of mass shooting events, and the top three things you need to do such as avoid, deny, defend.
“Try to avoid the person that is actually perpetuating the shooting incident, if you can get away, get away. And if you can’t, sometimes an exit may be blocked, sometimes the shooter may be in between you and the exit you are looking to get out of,” said Hancock.
Hancock says that’s when deny; comes into play. Meaning you need to barricade and deny the shooter entrance.
The class also discusses ways to defend yourself with weapons.
“A lot of people ask me that question, ‘if I’m confronted with this, do I have the right to defend myself’, you absolutely do,” said Hancock.
Gunter tells me the next class will most likely be in the fall.
If you would like to participate, you can call Living Bridges Ministry at (229) 234-7427 or call the Valdosta Police Department and ask for Officer Hancock.