PCSD staff learn techniques to prepare for active shooter situations

PARK CITY, Utah — Park City School District (PCSD) will host a final opportunity for teachers and staff to receive active shooter training through the Fight Back Nation program on November 4. The program teaches techniques on how to survive an active shooter situation and fight back if necessary.

This training comes at the request of many teachers and staff after a survey showed two-thirds of responders wanted some type of training. Fight Back Nation is an organization that provides active shooter training at the recommendation of the Park City Police Department and Summit County Sheriff’s Department.

Fight Back Nation was started by Dave Acosta, a 26-year law enforcement and international security veteran. The ultimate goal is to reduce the vulnerabilities in an active shooter incident. Acosta passed away from a mountain biking accident in 2020, but his family and other qualified instructors have continued to offer training, honoring his legacy.

Speaking on behalf of her late husband, Danielle Acosta said, “this active-shooter response training addresses how teachers and staff can create a strategic plan for defending lives in the event of an active shooter. Local police response is usually three minutes or less, and this training helps people survive during this critical time frame. ‘Always be prepared, not paranoid,’ and ‘train to be the solution’ describes Dave’s mindset. We take pride in teaching an effective but easy-to-learn hands-on approach in regard to fighting back.”

She continued by referencing a quote attributed to her husband, “Our goal is to empower you with knowledge and the tools you need to prevail in the face of overwhelming odds.”

The training these school district employees will receive is another layer to the already in-place training they receive for active shooter situations. Protocol tells staff that the first and best choice is to flee the area or barricade themselves in a locked room; however, questions remain concerning what they should do if running is not an option.

“Yes, we’ve got protocol within the school district for what happens if a bad guy gets on campus, we have to lock down, and that’s the routine exercise. What wasn’t discussed is if your classroom is breached and your kids are in there, here’s how you can potentially help out. These guys are here physically teaching you how to take down the shooter. We don’t expect the teachers to go out there and beat up someone. If you can’t run away, if you can’t keep barricading yourself in a room, that’s the last resort,” said Park City School District Chief Operating Officer Michael Turner.

“We want to be prepared to engage their last resort, and it doesn’t only apply to a school or something like that. The training could be used at home, in the community, or in a local church. So we think it’s a really nice training opportunity, and we hope it’s well received.”

The school district hopes that by providing this training, staff will feel empowered and less vulnerable. The mental trauma from an active shooter incident can’t be defended against entirely. The sense of preparedness provided by the program is a crucial aspect of the training provided and Dave Acosta’s book Victims No More! Fighting Back Against an Active Shooter, which was cited by Turner as a helpful tool for teachers and staff.

“This book is a compilation of historical data trends and the simple techniques and tactics that can be used to survive a mass shooting. Most importantly, both the book and our training empower and give hope, to anyone, by showing them that they are capable of protecting those they love,” said Danielle Acosta.

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