Mass shootings are a fact of life in America, and people should be prepared to react and offer help to victims.
That was the message Friday as officials from the Fort Wayne-Allen County Department of Health, the Indiana Department of Homeland Security and trauma workers from Lutheran and Parkview hospitals trained reporters for active shooter situations.
Participants learned to tie tourniquets and pack gauze into gunshot wounds in bleeding limbs. They were told to look quickly for ways to escape buildings and offices. Books, candleholders and other everyday items can be repurposed into weapons to fend off an attacker, trainers said.
The media-only event came a day after five people were gunned down inside the offices of the Capital Gazette newspaper in Annapolis, Maryland.
“The reality is, this could happen anywhere,” Allen County Health Commissioner Dr. Deborah McMahan said. “We all need to be equipped to prepare to respond. In 2018, there are things the citizens of Allen County need to be prepared for.”
The hourlong training session was announced Tuesday, but the shootings Thursday made it particularly relevant. Organizers said they are working to hold similar sessions for private organizations, at fire stations and in schools.
Friday's was at Bethel United Methodist Church on Lima Road.
Church trustee Bob Shugert said he recently organized a group to discuss building security. In the past, he said, the congregation might never have considered the threat of a mass shooting.
Times have changed.