More Iowans are learning how to prepare themselves for active shooter situations. Clinton County employees recently did a “live fire” exercise with air soft weapons and other local groups and churches are requesting the training.

Instructor Eric Van Lancker says he works to re-train your brain to know you have choices. He says it’s like a fire drill when you react and head to the nearest exit.

“That’s really why we do this training, to get you in the mindset to be able to prepare yourself, to allow yourself to do these things,” Van Lancker says.

Another trainer, Chance Kness, says the program doesn’t ask you to do things you can’t do and it’s not a self-defense class. He says it’s things like running away at your fastest speed. Kness says the Run, Hide, Fight program is not based on a rigid plan.

“What we’re saying instead is people have to make decisions based on the information they have and their instincts in order to do what’s right for them and to hopefully save their lives,” Kness says.

Decisions don’t stop at the first choice and Kness says people sometimes want a strict policy, but then change their minds after the training.

Kness says, “Specifically, the live scenarios where they have to choose and they make choices, I feel like the vast majority of people come out of that feeling empowered, feeling like they have more control over their lives with this kind of threat.”

Van Lancker says attitudes are changing about how to respond in these types of emergency situations. He says initially they used to spend part of the training as a sales pitch, but no longer.

“Now, we’re having folks ask us to come in and they don’t need that sales pitch any more,” Van Lancker says. “They know that something needs to be done through the years of all these mass shootings, the public wants to have more discussions about having these choices.”

The two say there are many other “run-hide-fight” trainers in the area, from law enforcement agencies to other parts of the community.

By Dave Vickers, KROS, Clinton