Local church group goes through survival training as mass shootings rise

WESTBOROUGH, Mass. — At World Mission Society Church of God on Sunday, emergency preparedness training was held in the event of a mass shooting.

As seen in many of the recent mass shootings, the burden for survival often shifts to potential victims and bystanders.

"When the ambulance gets called, there's still 10 or 15 minutes before the ambulance can get there," Westborough Fire Department Lt. Ed Manion said.

He added that a heavily bleeding wound can kill someone in just a few minutes, which is why in the training, participants learned that compression is key.

"If we can get people involved, if we can get people to stop the bleeding in the first five minutes rather than 15 minutes once the ambulance gets there, they just do so much better," Lt. Manion said.

In fact, commercially-produced tourniquets have made the job of stopping the bleeding easier.

But of course, preventing shootings in the first place is even more ideal.

Westborough Police Sgt. Todd Rossi said there's a major change in strategy when it comes to preventing such instances. Lockdowns are now a last option, he said.

But if they are necessary, they must be strong.

"Hopefully the person will bypass that particular room because you've done a good job. Because they don't want to spend a ton of time," Sgt. Rossi said.

The better option, if appropriate, is to treat active shooters like fires and run, he said.

For example, in the training they discussed how to break a window if need be. If your evacuation is dependent on a window, you'll have to break it, and you'll have to know how.

Officers said you should not break a window in the center part because that part of the glass is flexible and harder to break. Instead go to the corner where there's more tension on the glass and ram an object right through the glass to break it.

Westborough Police Detective Chip Dapolite said knowing a thing like that can potentially mean surviving a mass shooting.

"It's okay to be nervous about a situation. It's okay to maybe even freeze for a quick moment," Detective Dapolite said. "But then take that deep breath and do something, and make yourself safer, and safer for others is a good thing."