With current national conversations happening about gun violence and response to such threats, state officials will be hosting two seminars later this month focused on how best to handle emergency situations. One of those seminars will be held March 15 at the Centene Center in Farmington, while the second will be held March 16 in Troy, Mo.
The seminars will be hosted by the Missouri State Emergency Management Agency and will be based around responding to an active shooter incident.
"This event is a community-based seminar that's focused on how to respond to an active shooter incident," said Missouri Department of Public Safety Public Information Officer & Director of New Media Sara Dayley.
Dayley said the seminar will touch on a variety of aspects of responding to an active shooter incident including pre-incident planning, response plans and procedure for staff, training for managers and employees, communication with emergency responders and how best to handle public information.
The varied aspects are important, Dayley said, because in the case of active shooter incidents there are many active roles.
“Many times, every player in the city is going to be involved when something like this happens,” she said. “After this seminar the participants can go back to their city, plan and prepare. Essentially discuss what that response looks like to them."
In addition to the best ways to respond for those who could potentially be directly involved in such an incident, Dayley said the seminar will also deal with processing information about an event disseminated via social media, including how to control the spread of hearsay and rumors.
She said approximately 100 people have signed up for the seminar so far, with interested individuals being able to register at www.surveymonkey.com/r/qgz7ls8.
Presentations at the seminar will include “Planning for an Active Shooter Event: The Local View” by Rick Neace, a Chaplain with the Union, Missouri Police Department; “Active Shooter Preparation” by Kevin Virgin, a State Law Enforcement Mutual Aid Coordinator; “US Department of Homeland Security Products and Services” by Rick Goins of the Office of Homeland Security; and “Threats to Missouri Houses of Worship and Faith-Based Events” by David Hall, Director of the Missouri Information Analysis Center.
Dayley said the seminar is being held at a time when the public is interested in the subject, so as to maximize attendance and effectiveness in conveying the messages.
"We are always here to assist communities with programs like this," she said. "Unfortunately, due to the events that have unfolded over the last few years, it has been a conversation more and more communities are having. Being proactive is a good thing, it's just unfortunate that this type of training has become more of a concern than Mother Nature. Either way, we are here to serve and help Missourians in anyway possible and that will never change."
The local seminar will be held at the Centene Center in Farmington from 8:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. on March 15, with registration from 8 to 8:30 a.m.