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ATU to offer free active shooter safety workshop

The Arkansas Tech University Department of Public Safety is offering a free civilian workshop on how to prepare for active shooter situations.

RUSSELLVILLE, Ark. — A potentially life-saving training will take place on Thursday that aims to prepare you for a worst-case scenario.

The Arkansas Tech University Department of Public Safety will be offering a free civilian workshop on active shooter situations.

"There's going to be some things in this training that sound unbelievable, that sound like they are completely made up and that they couldn't be real," ATU Emergency Manager Heath Whorton said. 

Whorton explained that the university has done active shooter training for years, and their hope is that people will spread what they've learned, creating a culture of preparedness. 

The workshop is open to the public and will take place from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the Doc Bryan Student Services Center Lecture Hall on the ATU campus in Russellville. 

 Whorton said that since it's challenging attempting to cover everything one would need to know in an hour, they break it down into four components. 

They start with just basic information like the definition of an active threat compared to an active shooter.

Then in part two, they break down how we respond as humans to being in a high-stress situation and the stages of what that looks like. 

"The third part of the training is kind of the takeaway, which is what not to do in an active shooter situation, which is maybe the most important takeaway from the training itself," Whorton described. "After that what to do when you find yourself in an active threat situation, as well."

Lastly, the group will take what they learned throughout the training and apply it in a case study scenario to the Virginia Tech Shooting. 

“Denial is that one thing that maybe takes a lot of people off guard. They didn't really know and understand why denial is a thing and how strong denial can be in a high-stress situation," Whorton said. 

Whorton added that statistically, it's unlikely that you find yourself in this situation. However, since the community continuously comes to the training, that’s evidence alone to him that it's necessary to prepare for something like this.

He said he doesn’t want people to leave the training feeling as if they need to be hyper-vigilant, but just paying more attention to things as simple as knowing where the exits are can be important and effective.

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