Bay Area nonprofit offers active shooter preparedness courses

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- Active shooters in workplaces and public spaces are becoming more frequent.

In the Bay Area in these last two months, a small San Francisco barber shop, the Veterans Home in Yountville, and YouTube headquarters were all targets. These events and others around the nation have groups like National VIPS (Violent Intruder Preparedness Solutions) on high demand.

"Organizations are beginning to realize that they have a really significant role in protecting their people," says Kerry Harris, one of the nonprofit's founders. National VIPS offers active shooter prevention and preparedness services nationwide. Today, they were offering a class at Casino Matrix in San Jose.

RELATED: Bay Area school administrators take active shooter safety course

Harris, who used to work at the San Mateo Sheriff's Department, offers these tips:

  1. Make a run for it, if possible. Create space between you and the threat.
  2. If you need to shelter, put as many barriers between you and a threat. Consider using objects to secure doorways shut.
  3. Use simple objects as weapons.
  4. Make noise and chaos to deter a perpetrator.

"A perpetrator who means to hurt us is going to have to get through all sorts of barriers to hurt us," explains Harris. "If he comes through that door what do we have in terms of this room, we've got fire extinguishers we've got coffee cups, we've got coffee pots, we've chairs, we've got computers, we've got all sorts of stuff in here," explains Kerry.

"It really makes you feel empowered, makes you feel like there's something you can do," said one program participant to ABC 7 News. To learn more about National VIPS and their classes, click here.
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