VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — Recent mass shootings across the country have sheriff's deputies in Virginia Beach preparing people for the worst.
“I just knew that we needed something," said Investigator Chasta Mangum.
"They needed some type of knowledge.”
That knowledge is understanding how to respond to an active-shooter situation inside of a church or another public space.
Mangum is a retired deputy with the department and is the brains behind new active-shooter trainings for Virginia Beach churches.
“One Sunday I was sitting in church and I was thinking about the ladies in church and thought what would they do if I wasn’t here,” Mangum said.
This Saturday, Virginia Beach deputies will teach a Civilian Response to Active Shooter Events (CRASE) class for members of New Jerusalem Church of Christ and other local churches.
Mangum said the free class is based on a curriculum from the FBI’s ‘Run, Hide, Fight’ model.
“They can take something from each one of those steps. If you need to run, you can run. If you need to hide, you can hide, but there’s a certain way that you need to hide and things that you need to do to hide yourself,” she explained.
Though, she said that’s not always the best option. Another mistake many people make is trying to gather their things before escaping.
According to the Department of Homeland Security, the first step is to evacuate if you see an accessible path. Have an escape route, and plan in your mind to help others if you can.
If you can't find an easy way to get out, find a place to hide where the shooter is less likely to find you, but don’t trap yourself or restrict your options for movement.
Provide yourself with protection if shots are fired in your direction.
The last resort is to fight if your life is in imminent danger. Try to disrupt the active shooter by throwing items or yelling.
Mangum said this practice can be applied in any shooting situation. She hopes this information can save more lives.
“What I would like for them to walk away with is knowledge is power,” she said.
Newport News Police will hold a similar training this Saturday at Christ United Methodist Church starting at 10 a.m.
It's open to the public, but you must register to attend.
You can head to the church's website for more information on how to register, or contact them at 757-930-0945.