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Lessons Learned: El Paso and Dayton Shootings

Updated: Feb 23, 2021

Over 15 hours this past weekend, the cities of El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio were victimized by active shooter incidents leaving 29 dead and 53 wounded. Sadly, our nation has now had 251 mass shooting events in 216 days.**

What Happened in El Paso, TX, and Dayton, OH?

The El Paso, TX incident occurred at a popular Walmart, which was filled with as many as 3,000 shoppers and 100 employees. Police were on the scene within 6 minutes and quickly took the lone shooter into custody.

The Dayton, OH incident took place at a popular entertainment district. The shooter had a face mask, bulletproof vest, hearing protection, and an assault rifle. Dayton Police confronted the armed assailant within 30 seconds of the first shots and quickly ended the shooting.

Active Threat Training Saved Lives

Both El Paso and Dayton law enforcement agencies received previous training in active shooter response. There is no question that the quick and heroic actions of the police saved countless lives. The key to citizen survival in both events was to quickly identify the sound of gunshots. Walmart shoppers initially believed that the gunshots were roof construction or fireworks, and this caused a delay in response time by some of the shoppers.

The best response option at both venues was to run from the gunfire to a safe location away from the shooter. Some individuals froze and needed to be prompted by others to run. Individuals that chose to lay on the floor suffered multiple injuries and were trampled by others running from the area.

During both incidents, several surviving parties aided first responders by treating the wounded with basic first aid, CPR, and even applying tourniquets, such as belts, to the wounded. Tourniquet use is a crucial element of Stop The Bleed Training, which teaches bystanders how to stop severe bleeding before professional medical help arrives on the scene.

Safety Tips When Entering a New Space

It is important to always be vigilant and aware of your surroundings, no matter where you may be. These incidents can happen anywhere at any time. Continue to watch for people who are out of place and learn to identify noises that don’t fit the area.

  • Do you know where the exits are located?

  • Do you know how to use cover and concealment when running?

  • Always review your surroundings when entering an area.

  • Seconds matter and your survival depends on it.

  • Everyone should have basic first aid training as your actions could save the lives of many others.

How to Talk to Children About the El Paso and Dayton Shootings

Young children are very perceptive, and with the increase in gun violence, they may have questions. Help children through these traumatic events by:

  • Ask children what they have heard and how they feel about it.

  • If a child feels anxious or upset, talk her through it instead of dismissing her feelings.

  • Keep children away from news broadcasts. They may think pre-recorded events are happening in real-time.

  • Let your child know that she’s in a safe place and that the authorities are doing everything they can to protect her and others.

  • Offer support and try to answer all their questions with honest answers.

The Institute for Childhood Preparedness's staff are award-winning first responders with decades of real-world experience. We teach active violence and threat training, and Stop the Bleed training across the United States. To date, we have trained over 13,000 early childhood professionals across 16 states, 9 tribal nations, and Washington D.C. We focus on creating a safe, calm environment, and we never simulate any live ammunition during our trainings. To find out more information, schedule a training today.

**Statistics from GUN VIOLENCE ARCHIVE. Mass shooting defined as 4 or more people shot in one event (killed or wounded)



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