Preparing for active threats: Hamilton police, Fitton Center and others come together for training

Credit: Nick Graham

Credit: Nick Graham

The director of Hamilton’s Fitton Center for Creative Arts doesn’t want to think of enduring a threatening or emergent situation, but if he and the staff do, they want to be prepared.

Executive Director Ian MacKenzie-Thurley said he felt a need to train the staff following actual times they have had to use defibrillators and other emergency equipment. On Tuesday, the Hamilton Police Dept. led an active training session there and the Fitton Center opened it up to other organizations to participate.

“We were going to do the training for our staff regardless,” MacKenzie-Thurley wrote in a press release. “As we put it together, though, we thought, ‘Well, we have this 240-seat theater. Let’s open it up to other local businesses, area non-profits and community organizations.’”

The center had 60 people sign up for the event including employees from Lane Libraries, Pyramid Hill Sculpture Park and the Greater Hamilton Chamber of Commerce.

Brian Buchanan, the senior training officer for the Hamilton Police Dept., said the session is part of the department’s shift toward more proactive thinking.

“We want to be able to push out education and share that with the community so that, when God-forbid something bad happens, they’re reacting better,” Buchanan said. “Not only does it help them stay safe and not need our services as much, but also with an investigation.”

Buchanan has been with the department for 33 years and has been doing community outreach for more than 25 years. He said the scenarios are changing depending on what is happening around the world and what new programs have changed.

Buchanan went through scenarios for business and how people should react while making sure people are confident in what they are learning.

“The fact that you are preparing for it doesn’t make you paranoid,” he said. “It makes you intelligent. So prepare for not the inevitable, but a possibility.”

Tiffany Grubb, a Greater Hamilton Chamber of Commerce employee said she came with her coworkers to update their training. The group had done training in the past, but not in the past five years.

Grubb said the session was helpful not only for the chamber, but for businesses in the community, too.

“It’s important information, especially with the chamber being right downtown,” Grubb said. “And it’s important to be able to pass on information to other businesses too.”

After Buchanan’s session, Jim Bolen, director of the Butler County Emergency Management Agency went over how to prepare for bad weather including tornadoes and evacuation procedures.

“My job is infinitely easier when people are prepared,” Bolen said. “We’re always looking forward to the opportunity to help people prepare for disasters.”

Interested groups may inquire about available space by emailing or calling 513-863-8873, ext. 113.

Active threat response tips

Senior Training Officer Brian Buchanan advised on three steps to take in an active shooter situation. The steps come from Hamilton Police Dept.’s information on how to respond to an active threat.

Run: “Always try and escape or evacuate, even when others insist on staying. Encourage others to leave with you, but don’t let them slow you down with indecision.”

If you can’t run, hide: “Act quickly and quietly. Try to secure your hiding place the best you can. Turn out the lights and, if possible, lock doors and silence your ringer and vibration mode on your cell phone.”

As a last resort, fight: “Act with aggression. Improvise weapons. Disarm the shooter and commit to your actions taking the shooter down, no matter what.”

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