CONCORD — Emergency responders clarify that it takes a team effort to stop an active violence situation.
With more and more mass shootings seemingly popping up, the City of Concord, Concord Police Department and Emergency Management Services are collaborating to educate the public on how to be prepared if those incidents arise.
At 6 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 17, they will lead a free public education class on “Active Shooter Preparedness” in the City Council Chambers at Concord City Hall.
“We are holding a public meeting with the community and public businesses, just to discuss preparation of active violence events in the event people ever find themselves in that type of situation,” City of Concord Emergency Management Coordinator Ian Crane said.
City leaders and emergency responders will talk to the public and answer questions on topics such as, “What do you do? How do you react? What can you expect?”
The City of Concord and local emergency responders conducted a similar active violence awareness and training workshop in June at Cannon School.
Based on public inquiries, city leaders chose to lead another public course.
“We are going to be discussing your options if you are ever found to be in an incident like this,” Crane said. “It’s unfortunate we are at a point in this world where we have to prepare for something like this, but it’s just like any other emergency. We need to be prepared in an event that it happen.”
‘Run. Hide. Fight.’The presentation will be based on the Department of Homeland Security’s initiative — “Run. Hide. Fight.”
Crane said that most people don’t think mass shootings can happen where they are, but the shooting in April on the campus of UNC Charlotte hit close to home for many.
“I think everybody is under the mentality that it can’t happen here, but in reality, it can happen anywhere,” Crane said. “We have to be prepared in case it ever does and we find ourselves in that situation.”
Guests will here from representatives from the Concord Police Department, Concord Fire Department and Emergency Management about how they team together to combat the violence.
“It’s definitely a team effort. It’s a team effort to stop this and to get to the injured and help people,” Concord Police Lt. Larry Hubbard said.
Hubbard, a police officer of 25 years, said the police officers are in the front line of defense, working to stop the violence and prevent any more injuries.
“Our job is to respond to the sounds of violence and stop the violence,” Hubbard said. “Our job is to stop the threat and stop the person causing the threat.”
Hubbard also said it’s important for people in crisis to listen to emergency responders, no matter what.
“When we arrive on scene, we need the people who are inside or outside of any place where the violence is occurring to listen to us,” he said. “If we give them verbal commands and shouting to ‘show us your hands,’ we need them comply and not question. We are there trying to prevent violence and save lives.”
The fire department and EMS teams work with law enforcement officers to help form rescue task force teams, provide patient care and assist in getting people to safety.
“We work very close together in these types of events,” said Concord Fire Deputy Chief of Operations Thomas Knox. “We’ve done a lot of training over the years. We’ve learned a lot of lessons from past experiences from other places, so we want to get the message out to the public and we want them to understand what our roles are, how we work together and what to expect in an active shooter situation if the counter with that.”
Bethany Ledwell, the 911 Communications Director for the City of Concord, said that no matter how scary a situation people are in, it’s important for themn to give emergency responders the most specific information.
“The most important thing that we need in an event like this is exact location,” Ledwell said. “One thing we will discuss on Thursday night is being aware of your surroundings, knowing exactly where you are at, because if we had this type of incident, the more accurate information we have as far as location is going to assist responders in their timeliness in getting to the scene.”
According to CBSnews.com, since Sept. 1, there have been 283 mass shootings this year in the United States, which at the time outpaced the number of days in 2019.
According to data from the Gun Violence Archive, there were 37,662 total shootings resulting in 9,932 gun deaths and 19,868 injuries as of Sept. 1.
The biggest thing city leaders hope the public gets out of Thursday’s presentation is to always be aware of your surroundings.
“It could be in a mall, it could be in a movie theater, it could be in a library or it could be in your place of work,” Hubbard said. “It’s just about being aware of your surroundings and not just walking around and not paying attention. You are listening and seeing and relying on your senses of what’s going on around you.”