MIDDLETOWN, R.I. (WPRI) – An expert in mass shooting situations says while there is no "panacea" in how to handle tragic situations like the one in Newtown Conn., training school educators and administrators can help mitigate the disaster.
Allan Garcia – a former police sergeant and President of School Violence Solutions – said part of their training with educators is to try and desensitize them to intense situations.
"Most of them have never even head a gun go off," Garcia said. "If you have a situation where you can evacuate in a controlled and calm manner, then do that."
Garcia said part of their training includes firing off weapons so school staff know what it sounds like and so they don't freeze when they hear it..
"We have a little rhyme: lock out, clock out or take out," Garcia said.
If the shooter is outside the school staff needs to move quickly to lock out the individual, he said.
"If they are inside the school then I like to say it's clock out time," Garcia said. "It's time to go, its evacuate time."
The final option, "take out," is the absolute last resort when confronted with an active shooter, he said.
"If you're in a position where you can't get away from them and the inevitable is about to happen, its take out time," Garcia said. "You do what you have to do but you don't just sit there and await the inevitable."
Garcia has trained law enforcement across the country as well as school systems how to respond to mass shooting events. He said they have learned that the "lock down" method is not always the best solution.
"It's basically a hyper-aggressive assault on the shooter," he said. "We are basically going to move to the shooter aggressively and remove the threat to the workplace."
He also recommends parents talk to their kids and reinforce the training given to them by the schools.
Copyright WPRI 12