Highly trained and experienced police officers with the Costa Mesa Police Department helped train Orange Coast College staff and students for active shooter situations recently on campus.
The United States Department of Homeland Security defines an active shooter as, “an individual actively engaged in killing or attempting to kill people in a confined and populated area, typically through the use of firearms.”
“In an active shooter situation, your next step could place you into danger, and we seek to prevent any surprise on what your next step should be to remain safe in a very dangerous situation,” said Costa Mesa police officer Joshua Kuo.
When the Costa Mesa Police Department sent officers to train staff and students on campus, they did not send rookies.
Both Kuo and his partner, officer A. Alegado, share more than 20 years on the force, including time in the Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) unit and narcotics division respectfully.
During their presentation, each officer delivered a calm, fluid and tactical insight to each explanation of every step to the process.
More importantly, the presentation was centered on proactive steps of presentation. Specifically, profiling a potential suspect.
Identifying an out-of-place individual carrying a large cargo bag of unknown material, potentially wearing sunglasses, or a hat pulled low could be an indication of something to alert authorities about.
After shots have been fired, you must have created pre-situational awareness of your exits and openings.
As soon as you hear shots fired, alert the police by calling 911 immediately.
Run. If there is an accessible escape path students should run and attempt to evacuate the premises.
Hide. If evacuation is not possible, find a place to hide where the active shooter is less likely to find you.
Fight. This is a last resort and only when your life is in imminent danger you can attempt to disrupt and/or incapacitate the active shooter.
This basic explanation of the three step process is essential to surviving an active shooter situation.
Following the presentation, Campus Safety officer Tim Winer conducted a hands-on training seminar on bleeding control.
Through the use of practice dummies staff members were allowed to practice on the gear to further prepare themselves for the situation if it were to occur.
You can’t predict whether you will find yourself in an active shooter situation, but you can protect and train yourself, Winer said.