Life-saving strategies taught at active shooter training seminar in Scranton

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SCRANTON (WOLF) -- The Wyoming Borough Police Department and a local business in Scranton are teaming up to offer vital active shooter training courses to the public.

The classes teach people what to look out for and what to do if they find themselves in an active shooter situation, but the Wyoming Police Commissioner says those lessons can apply to any emergency situation.

The panicked 911 call of Columbine teacher Patti Nielson filled a small room at Roll Call in West Scranton tonight.

For about three to four minutes, Patti stayed on the line with a 911 dispatcher, describing the panic and chaos surrounding her in the school’s library moments before two gunmen killed and injured several students hiding under desks and tables there.

Instructor and Wyoming Police Commissioner Mike Flanagan says if action was taken before they got there, the outcome could have been different.

“We use the terms “Avoid, Deny, Defend.” We kind of like that because hiding is never going to be a good option. You need to always be doing something proactive if someone is trying to hurt you. Hiding is not going to be a good option,” Flanagan said.

Tonight, Flanagan taught a room of little more than a dozen people that strategy and more as part of the Civilian Response to Active Shooter training seminar.

The sessions are a partnership between Roll Call and the Wyoming Police Department and teaches people what to do in an active shooter situation.

But the training isn’t limited to just that.

“This is actually information that can help you in any emergency situation, being on an upper floor of a high-rise and fire alarm goes off. You still have to make the same decisions; the same stressors are involved,” Flanagan said.

Flanagan says its important for people to think about their safety first and what they would do in an emergency situation, like mapping out exits and possible escape routes when entering a room and staying alert.

This is the first class since the mass shooting that left 58 people dead in Las Vegas last week and more have been requested.

Nicholas Derk says when he heard about tonight’s class he immediately signed up.

“With the way that society is right now you can never have enough education. Education is key. I don’t think anybody wants to be a victim, its just the way things are going today, you just never know what can happen. I say its when it when its going to happen,” Derk, of Pleasant Mount, said.

More active shooter trainings are scheduled for tomorrow and next Wednesday at Roll Call at 6 p.m.

There’s also a large seminar scheduled for this upcoming Monday at Luzerne County Community College.

Groups of friends or other organizations can also request private sessions.

Anyone interested in registering can contact Flanagan by email at or by phone at (570) 693-2650.

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