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Lecture Addresses Public Shooting Safety

By Mario A. Cortez

In the wake of recent public shooting incidents across the United States, Chula Vista residents gathered at the local city council chambers to learn about how to remain safe in the middle of such incidents.

On Monday, Dec.11, the Chula Vista Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) organized an informational session which covered safety, first aid, and other potentially life-saving practices to be mindful of in the middle of an active shooter scenario.

The gathering featured a presentation by Chula Vista Police Department officers about how to stay safe in the middle of an active shooter scenario. During this segment, running to safety, hiding away, and, in a worst case scenario, fighting back only as a last resort were discussed.

“If a civilian finds themselves in a shooting they have to have these three things in mind,” said Hugo Bermudez, program manager for Chula Vista’s CERT team. “While we don’t want anyone to fight an armed shooter, at one point fighting may be the only option.”

This section was then followed by a presentation by the Chula Vista Fire Department’s Emergency Medical Services team on the roles and responsibilities that several first responder agencies have in the middle of emergencies.

The UCSD Medical Center then held a presentation on controlled bleeding techniques which attendees could get first hand practice on throughout several practice stations. Some of the techniques which were taught included proper compression, packing of wounds, and using tourniquets to control bleeding.

Bermudez pointed out that such informational sessions are necessary as shootings continue to occur.

“We’re going to be seeing more and more of these (shooting incidents), it is not something that we are able to prevent in my opinion but I do believe there is a lot we can do to teach folks how to prepare themselves and respond in this type of situations,” he said.

Monday night’s event was the second of its type held at Chula Vista’s council chambers. Earlier this year, CERT organized a similar event which received an overwhelmingly high attendance according to Bermudez.

The terrifying, recurring nature of active shooter incidents, however, lead CERT to consider offering a second informational session in 2017.

“We found that it was even more essential now to get folks on board to understand what they need to do in an active shooter situation,” Bermudez shared. “We have gotten calls from people asking us what they should do and organizing this second event was an appropriate response.”

Chula Vista CERT is planning on hosting two active shooter programs next year, one in late spring and in the fall.

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