Sheriff Webb holds active shooter seminar
by PHILLIP WILLIAMS
Jun 21, 2018 | 1938 views | 0 0 comments | 99 99 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Upshur County Sheriff Larry Webb told citizens at a Monday night seminar sponsored by East Texans for Liberty how to protect themselves if they find themselves involved in a situation with an active shooter.

About 35-40 attended the event at Lantana Activity Center outside Gilmer, at which a candidate for District One committeeman of the State Republican Executive Committee, Robert Kecseg, also spoke.

Webb's 67-minute presentation came in the wake of a recent mass shooting at Santa Fe High School in Texas, one of numerous such incidents in places such as schools, churches and workplaces that have plagued the nation over a period of decades. He noted he had presented the seminar before.

Webb, whose office has school resource officers on school campuses at Gilmer and New Diana, said he has been working with school districts in the county on protection against attacks, and that Texas public schools must present a threat assessment of their campuses to the state every three years. He also noted that staff members at Union Grove ISD (where his wife teaches) and Harmony ISD are armed.

However, his presentation included protective measures to take if attacked in buildings other than schools, including in open spaces.

He also told the audience that what he was presenting would "maybe save your life," and noted that attackers can use knives and bombs as well as guns. Generally speaking, he warned, assailants have no concern for their safety or the threat of being captured.

"They're changing the way we react" on a "day-to-day basis. . .out of fear," said Webb, who urged, "Don't be scared of what's fixing to happen. Be prepared for what could possibly happen."

He noted that when he eats in a restaurant, he sits "in a corner facing every entry and exit," which is the "best protection" one can take.
And if caught in a shooting, the sheriff cautioned, "You need to stay calm. Don't lose your mind."

If attacked in an open area, Webb said, seek protection immediately, "put something between you and the assailant," and evaluate things to see whether escape is your best option or whether it will "put you at more risk.

"If in doubt, find a safe area and secure it the best way you can," he said, and hide if you cannot run. The "safest place for you is to be inside a secured room," Webb added.

Doors should be locked and blocked with such objects as desks, file cabinets, books and other furniture, the sheriff said.

He also warned that it may be an assailant banging on the door "and yelling for help to entice you out."

When hiding, Webb said, also close blinds, block windows, turn off radios and computers, silence cell phones, put a "help" sign in windows. People should be out of sight behind objects, he added.

If you run from a shooting, the sheriff said, "Leave the area immediately." Also, "plan your escape route" before a shooting occurs.

"Encourage others to leave with you" and "use cover as you escape," including "anything that will stop a bullet from hitting you." He also warned to "leave your belongings behind" and said windows are "a great option" for escaping.

In any active shooter situation, Webb said, the three possible responses are run, hide or "if it comes down to it, we're gonna fight." He urged watching an Internet video titled "Run, Hide, Fight."

Fighting should be used "as a last resort and only when your life is in active danger," the sheriff warned. "Act with physical aggression towards the active shooter" and decide "you are going to do whatever it takes to live."

If those being attacked have no gun or knife, they can defend themselves with "improvised weapons," such as throwing chairs or keys, or poking the assailant's eye or ear with a pen, Webb noted.

If possible, he said, treat injured people by remembering basic first aid, applying pressure to and elevating those who are bleeding, and putting wounded people in a vehicle and leaving.

Tourniquets can be applied with cords, your belt, duct tape, cloth, paper towels or newspapers, Webb added.

One should also call 911, but realize it will "be overwhelmed," he said. When reached, give the 911 operator the specific address, office or classroom number, the number of people at your site, how many are injured and the types of injuries..

Also report the assailant's height, weight and describe their clothing, he said.

The 911 operator may give instructions how to care for the injured, Webb added. Meantime, "convey to others that help is on the way."

The sheriff also said that initial responding officers will not treat the injured nor evacuate anyone until the threat has been neutralized because that is the "number one priority." Since not treating the injured will upset people, "you may need to explain this to them," Webb added.

Once evacuated, people "will be taken to a holding area for medical care, interviewing, counseling, etc.," he said. In addition, information on the incident will be released to the media as soon as possible, Webb said.

As for protecting schools, the sheriff noted that last summer, his office did an active shooter response simulation at Union Grove ISD and that he has met with superintendents or school board members of all Upshur County school districts about security options.

The Upshur districts which have neither school resource officers nor armed staff have liaison officers that give advice on emergency drills, he noted.

Asked his opinion on arming school staff members, Webb said each district is "unique," which must be considered in determining security measures. Besides school resource officers, who are licensed peace officers (in Upshur County, they are his deputies), a school can have a school marshal, who is a trained school employee, but not a licensed police officer, he pointed out.

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