Midland Fire Department official talks mass shooting survival

The spike in mass shootings across the country — 250 so far this year — was on the minds of those attending the Permian Basin STEPS – Service, Transmission, Exploration and Production – Security Network at the Carrasco Hall of the Midland College Tuesday morning.

It’s a topic that garnered considerable attention when Midland Fire Department Battalion Chief Jayme Farmer detailed how to survive. He said recent events have increased interest in the training he helps provide, the Civilian Response to Active Shooter Events (CRASE) program.

The first response should be to breathe, he said, and calm yourself down to respond better. He then offered a mantra to help increase the chances of survival: ADD – Avoid, Refuse, Defend.

AVOID the attacker and escape the site if possible. If that’s not possible, run to another location, lock the door, turn off the lights, silence cell phones, block entrances, and hide to DENY access to the attacker. If necessary, be prepared to DEFEND yourself and DEFEND others, he said. Take a position that allows you to pursue the gun or the knife, he said, and fight.

“You have to fight dirty,” Farmer said. “It’s a fight for survival. There are no rules; you have to find this incredible will to live within yourself.

Denying an attack is happening by thinking it’s popping balloons or a backfire from a car “kills people”, he said. He added that playing dead is also not an effective option. During the Virginia Tech rampage that killed 32 people, a student tried to play dead and was shot three times, Farmer pointed out.

The response to active fire events has changed dramatically, and this evolution began in April 1999 with the attack on Columbine High School in Colorado. It was an event no one had seen before or trained for, Farmer said.

Now the police react more quickly with an emphasis on stopping the killings first. And emergency medical personnel will now enter the scene, which has been cleared but unsecured, said Farmer, who responded to the shooting in Midland-Odessa in August 2019, with Eric Harrell, who was helping him with the presentation. The shooting, in which eight people were killed, including the shooter, was the first time an active shooter was also mobile, he said.

One thing he recommended to improve paramedic jobs and help save lives is to receive “Stop the Bleed” training, medical training that teaches how to wrap gunshot wounds, apply pressure and apply tourniquets.

Despite all the attention school shootings have received, Farmer said businesses are more frequently the scene of mass attacks. Next are outdoor events, he said, citing Las Vegas, where 59 people attending a country music festival were killed and 851 injured, then schools, followed by other venues.

Farmer noted that mass attacks go beyond shootings. He pointed to a high casualty event in Santa Barbara, California that began when the assailant stabbed three people to death. He then went on a drive-by shooting and, after running out of ammo, started running over people.

Law enforcement hasn’t been able to build a full profile of possible mass shooters, Farmer said, but there are risk factors such as a history of violence, substance abuse, mental health issues. , suicidal thoughts, negative family dynamics, isolation or instability and others involved. on their behavior. The public can help by paying attention to red flags. Some shooters broadcast their intentions in advance, he said, such as Marjory Stoneman Douglas’ shooter in Parkland, Fla., and the Uvalde shooter.

“Keep paying attention to those red flags, he urged.