The Liberty County Chamber of Commerce hosted its first active shooter training seminar Monday at the Performing Arts Center.
Mike Hodges, director of the Liberty County Emergency Management Agency, directed the class along with Capt. David Edwards, a training officer with the Liberty County Sheriff’s Office.
Leah Poole, the Chamber CEO, said the Chamber board discussed having an active shooter training seminar for the community and approved it.
"So we asked the Sheriff’s Office and EMA if they had training in doing this, and they were trained by Homeland Security to do this," she said.
"Well I think this type of training is important no matter where you’re at," Edwards said. "If it’s Liberty County or anywhere else, I think it’s good that everyone is aware ofsituations and things like that that could happen. So I think that it’s a good thing that we get everyone together and talk about what could happen."
Attendees included business owners, church officials, law-enforcement officials and first responders, who first watched a video of a simulated shooter at a workplace and then went through several PowerPoint slides.
The video discussed the decisions of running, hiding or fighting back in an active-shooter situation.
"This is the first time, first type program in my 30 years of doing this kind of business, that we have ever advertised fight," Hodges said. "It’s always been run away, hide, something of the sort."
Hodges added that in deciding to fight, a person must commit to the action, but should not "be the lone savior."
"You don’t worry about hurting that person," he said. "You don’t worry about what you may do if you hit them with whatever. The whole mission is to take them down and totally incapacitate them so you can stop what’s happening."
The seminar also went over behaviors to look out for in potential workplace shooters and what to expect when law enforcement arrives on the scene.
Toby Mahan, who works for Holtzman Real Estate Services, was at the seminar because he feels he owes it to his co-workers to know what to do.
"It’s a problem that seems to be happening more often," he said. "And (I) just want to be able to know how to react in a situation like that."
Mahan said his staff is going to discuss a plan on what do should a shooter enter the building.
Attendees also asked questions about carrying a gun and whether students at local schools were familiar with the active-shooter training.
"I thought it went well," Poole said of the seminar. "I thought it was very interesting. I learned stuff that I didn’t know. Know things to look for now that I wasn’t aware of."