Stephenson County officials urge people to plan for active shoot - WREX.com – Rockford’s News Leader

Stephenson County officials urge people to plan for active shooters

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FREEPORT (WREX) -

Tornadoes and flooding are just a few of the disasters the Stephenson County Sheriff's and Health departments work to prepare for. But now, they have another situation to think about. 

"Everybody at the present time is concerned about active shooter," says Rick McDonough, the emergency planner for the Stephenson and Carrol County Health Departments 

A simulation held Tuesday comes after several mass shootings across the country. The most recent incident in Parkland, Fla. that left 17 dead and many more injured.

So, what should you do if you find yourself in a similar situation? 

"The first and foremost is to get out of the area," says Sargent Bob Sutter with the Stephenson County Sheriff's Department. "If you're not there, you can't be hurt." 

But, if you can't get out, experts say the first thing you should do is lock the door and barricade it to keep the shooter out. 

And if that person gets in, the next step would be to start throwing any object like books or pens that might distract the shooter. 

"What you're trying to do is disrupt their thought process By throwing Something will make them change their plan or distract them for that key second that gives you the opportunity, the upper hand to take care of what you need to do," Sutter says.  

However, one thing the Stephenson County Sheriff's Department says you should not during an active shooter situation is post anything on social media. 

"Signaling after the fact that everything is okay, that you're okay, that you survived," Sutter says. "That's fine, but it's after the fact. In a true emergency, you need to take care of the situation at hand." 

An incident people at Tuesdays training say they feel they are prepared to handle. 

"Stuff happens that's the bottom line -- whether we plan for it or not," McDonough says.   

The Stephenson and Carrol County Health Departments say they plan on having another disaster training about bio-terrorism this May. 

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