GONZALES, LA (WAFB) - How would you react if someone opened fire on crowds of people in public place? On Thursday, the Gonzales police department sponsored a class to teach residents just what they could do to keep themselves safe.
A group of Ascension Parish residents will more prepared for deadly situations after they completed the Gonzales police department's training course on how to protect yourself from active shooter.
"You don't want to be paranoid, but you do want to be aware of what's going on at all times," said Officer Walter Taylor. "That's the number one key to survival."
While you can't predict the situation, Taylor says there are a few things to keep in mind just in case.
"It can happen anywhere, so we like to keep the responses simple," said Taylor. "The first thing you can do is just be aware of your surroundings...know where the nearest exit is, and always position yourself to where you are near an exit so if something like this does occur you can get out the area as quickly as possible."
If you can't escape, Officer Taylor says there are some ways you can protect yourself. For example, if you're a student you can use your backpack as a makeshift bullet proof vest, or if you're at work you can use your briefcase to shield yourself.
With multiple recent mass shootings, some participants say they were glad Gonzales police offered a class like this one.
"We've got kids and grand kids, and I lost a son about 15 years ago to gun violence," said Jerry Baxter. "I just wanted to make myself more prepared."
Officer Taylor says if your local police department does not offer an active shooter course, he says some of the information from his class is available on the Department of Homeland Security website http://www.dhs.gov/active-shooter-preparedness
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