When asked what to do if they caught fire, most kids say, “Stop, drop and roll.”
It’s something everyone learns in school, along with what to do in case of a tornado. Matt Tibbetts hopes through his training, knowing what to do in an active shooter situation will become just as ubiquitous.
Tibbetts, 22, vice president of training and development for TBG Solutions Inc., and founder/CEO, Mark Seguin, 46, are traveling the country to instruct teachers and students, businesses and nonprofit clients, about what to do in a shooter situation.
“When you walk out the door and send your kids off to school or say bye to your husband for the day, you just never know what’s going to happen,” said Seguin, who started the company in Tyler 11 years ago.
Seguin teaches his students to run when at all possible, hide well if they can’t run and, if they have to, fight. By spraying a shooter with a fire extinguisher, they might disrupt the shooter’s thought process long enough to save a life, he said.
Tibbetts said they try to empower the instantaneous responders – the people in the room – to buy some time and save lives before emergency responders get there.
“Seconds save lives,” he said.
Mass shootings are defined as four or more people being shot, and the country averaged one a day last year.
“We’ve got a serious epidemic,” Seguin said.
Every active shooter situation is dynamic. Victims can’t be told what to do in every possible situation, but they have to be told to do more than hide in a corner and wait.
While undergoing certification training, Tibbetts and Seguin were asked to play as children and teachers with a gunman in the hall. When the shooter came in to find them hidden in a corner, they felt helpless.
The next scenario had the class make a run for it to a close exit and escape to safety. In the final example, where no exit was available, they worked together to barricade the door using common objects like belts and computer cords. They also equipped themselves with makeshift weapons. Experts have shown putting up resistance causes the shooter to lose momentum, Tibbetts said.
After a recent training in Littleton, Colo., close to shootings at Arapaho High School, Aurora Theater and Columbine High School, several teachers said they felt empowered – that they didn’t have to be a victim and could even be a hero.
“It’s a good feeling at the end of the day to empower people and potentially be saving lives,” Tibbetts said. “It’s all common sense but it’s not common knowledge.”