Akron officer talks about strategies to survive an active shooter situation

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AKRON, Ohio - Akron Police Officer Lauri Natko travels to schools and businesses throughout the area teaching students and employees how to survive if they find themselves in an active shooter situation.

She says the demand for what she is teaching is growing rapidly.

"We are seeing more and more violence. We are seeing more workplace violence, more shooting incidents, mass shootings are on the rise. Active shooter incidents are on the rise throughout the entire United States," said Natko.

"The goal is survival. To teach people how to survive and prolong their life until police arrive," she added.

The department teaches a popular technique called ALICE (alert, lockdown, inform, counter and evacuate) in schools. They also teach another technique called 'Run, Hide and Fight' in the workplace and a third survival technique called 'Avoid, Deny and Defend.'

As she watches the aftermath of the shooting in Las Vegas, she is reminded that even though public gatherings can be secured and the people there screened, when it comes to someone determined to carry out a mass shooting incident there is no plan that is fool-proof.

"We can't live in fear. These incidents are going to keep continuing and we can't stop our lives. We can't stop enjoying our lives but we can arm people, we can arm them with the knowledge and the ability to protect themselves with the knowledge of what to do if an active shooter were to come where they are at," said Natko.

The Summit County Sheriff's Office also teaches survival techniques.

Inspector Bill Holland says most of the active shooting incidents happen without warning and are over in a matter of 10-to-15 minutes, faster than a swat team can arrive.

Holland works security at one of the areas largest outdoor concert venues, Blossom Music Center. And while authorities have a plan in place for various scenarios that could happen there they realize they cannot predict or prevent every possible event.

"You can't train for every single scenario. It's not really possible because the mind - the type of attack - is limited to the imagination of the attacker so you kind of have to predict what they are going to do and when it happens just be able to take swift action," said Holland.

Natko says the city of Akron hosts numerous events intended to draw people downtown where there are high-rise buildings including summer concerts at Lock 3, the Rib White and Blue Festival, The Akron Marathon and First Night.

But she says people shouldn't live their lives in fear.

"Aerial shootings are very rare and that was a unique situation that I don't know there's a whole lot of advice we could have given those people," said Natko.

"There's always risk in life. I could cross the street and be hit by a car struck by a vehicle. You are more likely for that to happen than to die in an active shooting event so life always comes with risks but without going out and enjoying it you are not living your life," said Natko.​

More on the Las Vegas shooting, here.

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