West Springfield business highlights importance of active shooter training

A local business has conducted active shooter training for years, but as more mass shootings happen each day, more businesses ask to take part in this training.
Published: May. 18, 2023 at 6:37 PM EDT
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WEST SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WGGB/WSHM) - One local business has conducted active shooter training for years, but as more mass shootings happen each day, they are seeing more businesses ask to take part in this training exercise.

There have been more mass shootings in the United States than days so far in 2023. One local agency based in West Springfield is raising awareness about the importance of active shooter training.

“Businesses who care about their employees, are calling us and they’re learning strategies on mass public shooting events,” said John Nettis. “Whether it be Holyoke Housing Authority or a house of worship, big businesses, small businesses, schools, colleges.”

Protective advanced safety hosts active shooter training for many businesses across the region.

“We use a lot of practices,” said Nettis. “We use breathing techniques, we use a lot of videos and we use reality-based training where my partner and I create an event that’s either happened before in the past based on the data that we’re receiving and then we create it in the business that actually calls us it’s part of a small portion of the training.”

Western Mass News was able to get an inside look at one of their active shooter trainings for the Holyoke Housing Authority. Employees were instructed to hide in their offices while a shooting drill was acted out by the protective advanced safety team.

You can hear piercing rounds of fake bullets fired, ass the mock shooter walks through the hallways looking for any employees at Holyoke Housing Authority.

Before that scenario played out, the team held a seminar for employees to educate them how to react if that situation you just heard was ever to become a reality.

“We’re going in and working with administrative and teaching strategies to mitigate casualties during a mass shooting event,” explained Nettis.

Dozens of people in attendance were able to experience and learn from known strategies commonly used by shooters, including Jananra Healy.

“I still have heart palpitations because you’re preparing yourself to learn how to address these types of situations, the best thing to do so all we can do is ask our employees to do is to be prepared in case something like this happens,” said Jananra Healy.

A quick Google search on active shooter protocols shows hundreds of entities listing how you can stay safe if you ever find yourself involved in a shooting.

One of the most common techniques offers three pieces of advice “run, hide and fight.” That’s something Healy said she learned from protective advanced safety services. She instigated as soon as she heard the shots fired.

“To listen to your surroundings and then make a decision based on where you feel that it’s coming from so that you hide first off if you feel necessary to or if you have the opportunity knowing where it’s coming from to run and then if you really need to if it’s happening in front of you, fight,” said Jananra Healy.

This training in Holyoke all taking place while another mass shooting was happening in Texas, leaving eight people dead and the gunman dead, including a former UMass Amherst graduate.

Healy added that participating in this type of training was an extremely important and incredibly moving experience that she recommends anyone take part in.

“They are happening daily I can be 6 flags; I can be at work and knowing that we’ve taken the opportunity to take tactics to make sure we cannot overreact to the situation but be prepared,” said Jananra Healy.