As of May 13, 2024, the Gun Violence Archive reported a staggering 157 mass shootings in the United States. 

In response, city officials in Tucson have organized training sessions aimed at equipping residents with essential skills to handle violent situations.

On Wednesday, May 15, community members and city employees gathered at the El Rio Activity Center to participate in a training session organized by the City Manager’s Office. 

The session, titled “Run, Hide, Fight,” was conducted by ICSAVE, a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing guidance on how to respond to active violent situations.

Bruce Whitney, Co-Director of ICSAVE, emphasized the importance of being prepared for such scenarios. 

“These situations seem to be happening more and more frequently throughout our communities and throughout the nation, Whitney said. And so I think its very important for us to have a conversation about it, be situationally aware, and to develop a plan.” 

Daniel Reyes from the City Manager’s Office highlighted the significance for the community, and his fellow employees. 

“Its not only just for our community, Reyes said. Also, some of our city employees joined this training because a lot of us interact outside.

As the class title implies, the training gave tips on whether to run, hide or fight in a live shooter scenario. Whitney says the choice depends on the specific circumstances.

When it comes to which response option is appropriate, its all predicated on where you in relation to the problem, Whitney said. If youre on the other side of the building where the harm is taking place, youve got time to run. If the person is in the same physical area that youre in and you cant effectively run and hide, you really have no other option to engage them.

He says that without developing a plan, many people end up making the wrong decision in the heat of the moment. Or worse, they make no decisions.

Historically, whats happened was that a lot of folks find themselves in a state of denial, believing that these things happen elsewhere and not where they live, Whitney said. If they havent psychologically prepared themselves for the possibility, oftentimes theyll completely go catatonic.

While Whitney says the chances of being involved in a mass shooting are statistically low, he emphasized the importance of preparedness. 

“Statistically its very improbable that someone is going to be faced with a mass shooting, he said. The problem is we never know when its going to happen.

ICSAVE will again present the Run, Hide, Fight training on Saturday, May 18 at the Abrams Health Center from 9:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. 

The training will be complemented by ICSAVE’s “Stop the Bleed” class. This additional course will provide instruction on wound care, an essential skill in managing injuries during violent events.