DURYEA — Rita Hall is not naive to the violent events happening in the world and knew she needed to learn what to do in a dire situation.
“You must want to know how you’re going to be able to protect yourself,” said Hall.
The Harding resident was among more than 30 participants who sat through an active shooter training seminar Wednesday evening at the Duryea Municipal Building and found the program informal.
The program was instructed by Tom Walsh, Duryea Borough Police Officer and Director of Fire Arms Training at Lackawanna College.
Walsh touched on key points about what to do in an active shooter situation such as escaping the area, barricading oneself in a locked room, or fighting.
“The main point I want people to realize is to be aware of their surroundings,” he said. “If something bad happens, we want you to get out as quick as you can, and if you can’t, we want you to barricade yourself in to deny access. If it comes down to it, we want you to fight back and not wait around to be killed.”
The fighting part was something Hall admitted she never considered.
“I would’ve played dead,” she said.
After the presentation, Walsh was approached about being trained to use a firearm, as well as whether or not he would consider giving his presentations in other locations.
He said it meant a lot that citizens wanted to learn more, and also took the time to attend the presentation.
“It means that people are taking their safety into their own hands,” he said. “They’re taking their own safety seriously.”
Keith Moss, Duryea Borough mayor, was also pleased with the turnout, especially seeing members of neighboring municipalities such as Pittston Township, Hughestown, Dupont, and Avoca.
“It was fabulous,” he said. “Just to have the closest municipalities work close with us here in Duryea and come and have a good class on an active shooter. It’s fantastic to have that.”
Moss also pointed out the majority of the neighboring municipalities also combine crime watch efforts, and tend to support one another when there are special presentations.
He anticipates Duryea Borough doing another presentation in the future, possibly on handling drug-related situations.
Walsh said he has no other active shooter presentations upcoming for now, but that people can call the Lackawanna College Police Academy and schedule one.
He said he’s always happy to give a presentation in hopes it helps one person.
“When you do something like this, if you helped one person, it means a lot,” he said. “Hopefully, you help more than one person, but if you can help just one person it’s more than worth it to do these things.”
Reach Jimmy Fisher at 570-704-3972 or on Twitter @SD_JimmyFisher