A former Suffolk County sheriff who has trained hundreds of schools, businesses and houses of worship across the country on how to respond to active shootings since 2012 delivered a grim message during a training session in Suffolk County Tuesday night. Information.

Mass shootings in the U.S. have been steadily increasing since 2020, from 630 in 2020 to 753 in 2022, Don Longo said. So far this year, “we’re at 160 and counting — and counting,” he said. It’s going to grow. ”

On average, mass shootings happen within four to six minutes – too fast for police to respond to stop the killing, Mr Longo said.

“You can’t expect law enforcement to be there,” he said. “Most of the time, that doesn’t happen.”

Still, he added, “mass shootings are survivable. If you prepare ahead of time, know what to do, and do it, they can survive.”

Mr Longo said the key to survival that most students across the country were not taught was to run as far as possible, not hide or stay put.

“Schools need to have a ‘run, hide, defend’ type of plan and they need to include that option … if you can escape, you do.”

“It’s simple,” he continued, “if you can get out of the kill zone, if you can get away from the shooter, there’s absolutely no point in being there. If you can get out of the kill zone safely, the building — whether the shooter is at large or inside — Do it all.

“If you can’t, because the shooter is between you and the exit, or because you’re injured, you have to hide.”

Finally, Mr. Longo pointed out that “this is only a last resort”, saying that if a person ends up close enough to the shooter to physically confront the shooter and there is no way of escape, the perpetrator should engage the gunman by trying to grab the weapon .

“It sounds extreme and impossible, but it’s not.”

Mr. Longo said the US Secret Service’s 2019 and 2022 reports, as well as the FBI, endorsed the “run, hide, defend” strategy.

In an interview after Tuesday’s meeting, Mr. Longo told the Suffolk Times that, in his experience, most Long Island schools and police departments advise against trying to escape.

He said he offered his expertise to the Long Island school after the 2018 mass shooting in Parkland, Fla., that killed 17 people.

“After Parkland, I sent not only emails, but physical mail, to over 120 school superintendents and principals in Long Island, and I said, ‘Here’s my credential, here’s what I can do for you, I It will be charged for free.”

He said he rented a hall, sent out invitations, but got only one reply.

Mr. Longo said he sent a similar letter to administrators at Long Island schools in January.

This time, he said, he had two responses — from the Half Hollow Hill Central School District in Suffolk County and the Bethpage Unified Free School District in Nassau.

He said he wasn’t sure why Long Island schools had been resisting his message, which he said was more popular in other parts of the country.

“You’ll find schools in the South and West — and I’m going to generalize here — that are teaching ‘run, hide, fight.’ These schools tend to cost more money … with more software and hardware.They have such a system that when there is an active shooter, not only [special] The bell rang, but the computerized voice kept repeating “Active shooter, active shooter.” Some schools are directly linked to local police departments, and school hallways emit smoke or strobe lights to confuse shooters. ”

Mr Longo said he feared only a mass shooting here would wake the public up to the need for preparation and training.

“We’ve either been very lucky or God has been protecting us here in Long Island because we haven’t had mass school shootings here,” Mr. Longo said. “We will. It’s just a matter of time.”

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