The recent shootings in El Paso and Dayton, Ohio, have the community members and businesses on alert.

None more than the local Walmart, which recently had a special in-house training session for employees on active shooter scenarios under the guidelines of Civilian Response to Active Shooter Events also known as CRASE. Seguin Police Chief Terry Nichols conducted the session for them.

“There were probably about 30 to 50 of my associates that attended the training,” Walmart manager Marcella Binkley said. “Some of them were scheduled that day and some came in on their day off and took part in it. It covered points about staying safe and really being aware of your surroundings and really knowing where your nearest exit is.”

CRASE offers people a plan in case they find themselves in an active shooter situation, Seguin Police Department spokesperson Officer Tanya Brown said.

“So over the last 16 years, the FBI has been doing studies on active attacks and came up with a better game plan than we’ve had in the past,” she said. “This training teaches people on making plans, preparing and then taking action.”

“Avoid, Deny, Defend” is the strategy that CRASE teaches.

“Definitely get out of the building or location where the attack is happening,” Brown said. “Second of all, it takes most people a long time to process the event. For example, if you’re at your place of business, somebody might think, ‘Hey, I hear fireworks.’ But it’s really easy to ask ‘why would there be fireworks at work?’ instead of trying to justify the noise in the room. So make sure that you’re reacting.”

The training also advocates for people to have a plan and to know their surroundings. This can often be done by looking for the designated exits or checking the layout of facilities if they are available. 

“Make sure that you know other exits and not just the way that you came in and have a plan,” Brown said. “If something was to happen, if you cannot get out, then you want to be able to deny access to the attacker.

“So if you’re in your office and you can’t get out, we teach ways to protect yourself from the attacker. We also say that just because you’re shot doesn’t mean you’re dead, so you should still react.”

This was not the first time that the business has undergone training of this nature with overviews being conducted around four times per year. Most of the training courses are taught online, however, due to recent tragedies, management decided Nichols personally would conduct the latest course, Binkley said.

“It was interesting,” she said. “We do the training four times a year and even though the training was very similar in content (to previous overviews), just him giving it orally and being present in the store for my associates was amazing. Not that they didn’t learn anything new. I think he just opened up their eyes more because it came from him versus listening to it on a computer.”

Community members will have the opportunity to attend one of two public sessions the Seguin Police Department is hosting.

The first is 6 to 8 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 23 at the Seguin Police Department, 350 N Guadalupe St. The next session is 10 a.m. to noon on Friday, Aug. 30 at the Seguin Public Library, 313 W. Nolte St.

Joe Martin is a staff writer for the Seguin Gazette. You can e-mail him at joe.martin@seguingazette.com .

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