June 28, 2016

Intermittent clouds

Seminar teaches safety in public place during mass shooting

MEDINA TWP. — Local business owners, school officials and workers attended a Thursday morning seminar on how to survive during a shooting.

Jim Bigam, director of security and safety at Medina Hospital, said the outdated “tornado drill” mentality of simply hiding under a desk or table and being quiet will not save lives.

Jim Bigam, director of safety and security at Medina Hospital, talks to a group of people during a seminar about how to survive a shooting incident in the workplace. About 125 people attended the event Thursday morning at Weymouth Country Club. (GAZETTE PHOTO BY STEVE GRAZIER)

“If you’re doing this, you’re waiting to be killed,” Bigam told a group of about 125 people at Weymouth Country Club in Medina Township. “It’s a mindset we have to change.

“People who want to kill others are going to high-populated locations or those with “large body counts,” Bigam said. Shooters tend to target schools, churches, restaurants, hospitals and malls.

Bigam encouraged people to take a proactive approach in the workplace or in public if ever faced with a life-or-death situation with a shooter.

“We trust police and firefighters to protect us, but we need to teach ourselves and kids how to run, hide or fight,” he said.

“You need to be the ‘first responder.’ ”

Bigam, a former detective with the Medina Police Department, also encouraged business and school officials to have open discussions with local police departments about “active shooter” situations.

Thursday’s seminar was scheduled as an educational tool in response to the December shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., in which 20 students and six adults were killed, and the Chardon High School shooting in February 2012 that resulted in three deaths.

The seminar was sponsored by The Greater Medina Chamber of Commerce and the Medina County Safety Council.

Contact reporter Steve Grazier at (330) 721-4012 or sgrazier@medina-gazette.com.

How to be safe

The following actions can be executed when faced with a shooter:

RUN. Find a safe exit from a building. Warn others on your way out and call 911.

HIDE. Get to a secure room or area. Stack furniture in front of a door. Turn off lights and silence cell phones.

FIGHT. Swarm the shooter in a group, if possible. Throw objects at the shooter’s head, such as a book, purse, shoes, food, dishes or silverware, to distract him or her.