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B.E.C.O.N. Course prepares for active shooters

By Staff | Apr 13, 2015

Nathan Harmon, security driving and firearms instructor with Bill Scott Racing (BSR) in Summit Point, offered an explanation of the Active Shooter preparedness course offered at the training center. Harmon was the guest speaker at the monthly Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce meeting held at Paddy’s Irish Pub in Charles Town last Thursday.

“It is important to learn survival tactics,” Harmon told those in attendance. He explained the statistics of active shooters and the increasing occurrence of such individuals in our society.

He said that “going into a lockdown status” is a good start for businesses and schools; however, more details of what is actually meant by “lockdown” are needed. He shared that there needs to be a way in a safety program, especially at a school, where the location of the intruder can be shared if possible, through code or other methods.

The course offered at BSR focuses on proactive measures to take in an active shooter situation. Labeled BECON, standing for Barricade, Egress, Control, Oppose and Notify, the program is a series of non-sequential strategies that can be applied during a crisis event.

Harmon explained that shooters go through various stages including the fantasy stage where they imagine their intended actions. They then progress to the planning, preparation, approach and implementation stages. During any one of these stages, a potential shooter can be acting strangely or can even communicate their intentions to others.

“We need to have more of the instance of ‘see something, say something,'” Harmon said. Even if an observation or belief that someone is intending to do harm proves false, it is better to speak up than remain silent.

The course offered at BSR is currently designed for commercial management, school leadership and faculty, school resource officers and law enforcement officers. It provides training and tools that would better mitigate a crisis situation, increasing overall chances of surviving attack.

“Shooters who receive resistance often shoot themselves or are shot,” Harmon explained. Citing many examples of active shooter incidents, Harmon also said that 37 percent of all incidents last less than five minutes.

Average police response time is usually three to six minutes with some cases being up to 12 minutes.

Attendees at the trainings at BSR go through not only classroom instruction but hands-on practical exercises where the students will experience various situation sin which they will implement strategies learned during the course to come to a collaborative decision on how to respond to each scenario.

“The days of closing and locking the door and huddling in the corner are gone,” Harmon said. He stressed that escape from a situation is the best route. However, knowing how else to respond in a situation where escape is not immediate, could save lives.

Those interested in finding out more about the BECON course and other safety training courses at BSR can visit www.bsr-inc.com or call 304-725-6512.