(WTVM) - In light of Thursday night's mass shooting at a Louisiana movie theater, we spoke with local expert Ken O'Shields from the Pastoral Institute, who trains corporations on responding to active shooter.
O'Shields is in charge of their active shooter survival training and discussed the nature of mass shootings with us on Friday.
"The main thing I find in talking with people now is that if they don't know what to do, if they've never been trained in how to survive one of these issues, then they worry about it," O'Shields said. "Worry is a man-made waste of time. By training people in the ways to recognize what's happening and know best how to survive it, I've found that worry goes away.
He said first responders have been retrained how to go in and stop an active shooter after the Columbine shootings in 1999.
However, he said civilians have not received that same training so it's his job to teach them how to survive until law enforcement arrives at the scene.
"We have to train the civilians on how to respond," O'Shields said.
He also said the key thing to keep in mind is situational awareness. For instance, if you're going into a mass group of people, look around and be aware of who's around you. Watch for people acting strangely.
"If we pay attention to our surroundings, most of the time we can know before it happens," O'Shields said. "When it happens we have to be able to size it up. Is this an attack? Is this an assault? Is this a robbery? Because if you respond improperly to those, you can get hurt."
He said there was nothing the first two people who were shot could have done. Everyone else, however, should hit the floor and started getting out as soon as possible.
"Make yourself a hard target," O'Shields said. "If you can't get out you hide as best you can so that you have time for people to come and help you. But just throwing up your hands saying 'please don't shoot me' doesn't stop these type people."