Seminar to train workers on lockdown situations

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Jim Leute
Thursday, April 11, 2013

— Columbine, Oak Creek, Newtown.

Taken together, the three trigger much more than random names of communities or schools.

Instead, they evoke memories of mass shootings.

Two local organizations are taking steps to keep Janesville, Beloit or Rock County out of that image.

The Rock County Sheriff's Office and Holiday Inn Express and Janesville Conference Center are offering a training seminar that will focus on active threats of violence, mass shootings, lockdowns and emergency planning.

“Staff, This is a Lockdown,” is a daylong seminar to be offered later this month at the conference center in Janesville. Jesus Villahermosa of Crisis Reality Training will be the presenter.

Sgt. Shena Kohler of the Rock County Sheriff's Office said she saw Villahermosa's presentation in Wisconsin Dells and came away thoroughly impressed.

“I knew within five minutes that we had to have him here,” said Kohler, who works in the department's emergency management division.

Last year was a record for mass shootings, with people gunned down in schools, shopping centers, places of worship, movie theaters, day spas, coffee shops, sporting events, military bases and public buildings.

Kohler said the sheriff's office recognizes the urgency for training to prepare community leaders for similar threats.

“It is crucial for us to be prepared and aware so we can protect and educate our community,” Kohler said. “It's not supposed to happen anywhere, but it does.”

The workshop will:

-- Teach employers and employees to understand a lockdown plan.

-- Show why every workplace needs a lockdown plan.

-- Examine realistic considerations in developing plans.

-- Show employees that such a plan can be developed and implemented, regardless of the size of the workplace.

-- Provide those on scene the tools necessary to increase their survival rate.

Kohler said participants would learn what police and fire responders do during a lockdown.

“There's always an initial panic in these situations,” she said. “Beyond that, you need to know what roles others are filling and what you need to do as a teacher, a business owner, a mall manager.

“This is the kind of training that doesn't end at 4:30 p.m.”

Kohler said the target audience is broad.

It includes educators, businesses, childcare facilities, churches and public sector administrators. It also includes a wide range of first responders.

The seminar can only accommodate 150 people each day. So far, more than 100 have signed up.

“It's an incredibly valuable opportunity, and so far, we've had significant interest,” Kohler said.

Last updated: 10:26 am Tuesday, July 2, 2013

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