LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) — With the recent shootings across the country, security and safety in public places is top of mind. Many people have wondered is any public place safe from shootings? How can I stay safe?
WHAS11 turned to an expert for these answers.
Greg Gitschier is a local security consultant. He is a retired law enforcement officer, having worked with the Louisville Metro Police Department for 11 years. He also spent 22 years working as a secret service agent.
"I'm passionate about security consulting because the government spent a lot of money training me and I've worked in close to 70 countries around the world. So we learned how to do things in different kinds of environments," Gitschier said.
As a security consultant, Gitschier goes to churches, schools, business offices, factories and warehouses to discuss ways to make the buildings safer.
"Nowadays, unfortunately with these shootings that we've had, I usually get asked to do active shooter training. Active shooter training is different depending on the environment," he said.
Gitschier said one thing he tries to teach people is that you have to make decisions quickly. So when you hear something that sounds like a gunshot, you can't freeze up or second guess what you heard.
He believes the principle 'Run, Hide, Fight' can apply in many of those situations.
"Anytime you feel like you can get out the door and you decide that's my safest bet, then we encourage you to go," Gitschier said. "If you can't run, you hide. Hide the best place you can. At the grocery stores we're telling people, hide under the deli counter, hide in the freezer, go into the bosses office, you know whatever you've got to do. Just hide and make yourself unseen."
But then, if it comes down to it, Gitschier said being prepared to fight may also save your own life and the lives of others.
"I mean, would you rather be on your knees begging for him to spare you or do you at least want to have a chance and fight?" Gitschier questioned.
He said gathering a group of people to rush a perpetrator at different angles, makes it much more difficult for them to attack.
"The problem is with these shootings is if somebody has the bad intention to come in with an ammunition and the weaponry to do a lot of damage, they're going to keep shooting until they either are stopped or run out of ammunition," Gitschier said.
Gitschier added the only thing stopping "a bad person with a gun is a good person with a gun." But he said there may not be people with concealed-carry in some places, such as bars.
He said in dark places like bars or movie theaters, the best thing to do is get low if you're not able to see the exits easily. He recommends crouching beneath chairs and tables.
But, knowing where the exit signs are is something Gitschier believes can help in any kind of environment. He said in law enforcement, they call it "situational awareness."
"It sounds paranoid, but you have to agree the way things are going, it's not bad to be a little bit paranoid," he said.
'Prepare, plan and practice' is another tactic Gitschier teaches in many of his security consultations.
"Unless you kind of prepare and practice these skills, it's just going to be crazy if and when it happens," Gitschier said. "Just get used to habit. That might just save your life or someone else's life by doing those simple things."
But one thing Gitschier emphasized is that "there's no one size fits all" or "magic pill here." That's why he encourages everyone to know their surroundings at all times and keep in mind his tips that apply in all different situations.