SANFORD — How would you respond if someone with a gun started shooting while you were at a shopping center, at school, or at your place of business?

While incidents like these have happened across the country, so far, none has happened here. But it could.

To help local residents know how to respond, the Sanford Police Department will host two, two-hour seminars, “Civilian Response to Active Shooter Events,” on Saturday, March 3 and March 31, from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. at Sanford Police Department, 935 Main St.

Police added the March 3 class because the March 31 class filled up quickly — each class can accommodate 50 people.

Sanford Police first scheduled the trainings in 2016, and held another in 2017. 

The class is a familiarization of what to expect, how to respond, and tips on how to survive.

Developed by the Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training program at Texas State University, the program advocates an “avoid, deny, defend” approach: getting away safely from the situation if possible, denying the perpetrator the opportunity to get to you, and defending yourself — getting physically and mentally prepared to do whatever is necessary to survive.

According to information at the FBI website, there were 220 active shooter events in the United States from 2000 to 2016 in which 661 people were killed and 825 people were wounded.

The FBI website shows that of those 220 incidents, 95 took place in businesses or malls; 48 in educational environments, 23 on government property; 29 in open spaces; 11 in residences; eight in houses of worship and six incidents in health care facilities.

“We don’t want to scare the people in the community, we want to empower them,” said instructor Sgt. Jason Champlin in a prior interview. “I hope people are looking for the opportunity to learn more and be better prepared.”

People may sign up for the event at:

— Senior Staff Writer Tammy Wells can be contacted at 324-4444 (local call in Sanford) or 282-1535, ext. 327 or [email protected]

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