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MSP reminds community of safety tips amid Oxford tragedy

The state police offer active shooter training for businesses and school staff looking to stay safe
The post is located in Iron Mountain off US-2 across from Bay College West Campus
The post is located in Iron Mountain off US-2 across from Bay College West Campus(WLUC)
Published: Dec. 1, 2021 at 3:52 PM EST
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IRON MOUNTAIN, Mich. (WLUC) - After the tragedy at Oxford High School Monday, the Michigan State Police want to remind the community how to stay safe in dangerous situations.

Since 2013, thousands of U.P. residents have participated in the Michigan State Police’s active shooter training. While the Iron Mountain post says the U.P. is a safe community, it is important to always be prepared.

“We give them tools because the situation is fluid. So many times, we get questions like ‘just tell me what to do and I’ll do it.’ It really comes with what you’re presented with and we give you tools so that you can act on what’s presented to keep you safe,” said Geno Basanese, MSP Community Service Trooper.

Basanese says some tools include situational awareness, “run-fight-hide” and “lockout-get out-takeout.” Simple phrases and acronyms can help trigger life-saving maneuvers. The training session also covers a topic called “normalcy bias.”

“A lot of times people will hear something or see something and won’t accept the fact that it is real. They’ll offset it and say it might be firecrackers or someone slamming a locker. This is where we need to get people out of that normalcy bias and accept what’s going on and identify it right away,” said Pete Schlitt, Dickinson County Sheriff’s Emergency Manager.

Schlitt and Basanese have done active shooter training programs at every school in the area. Each program includes three main components.

“We start off with a personal safety portion of it, and then we get into what you can do in the event of an active shooter,” Basanese stated.

The third component combines scenarios to test what participants have learned. Schlitt says in many situations, co-workers and staff can identify possible red flags.

“Maybe somebody is not acting like they normally do. You start asking questions, and those are things that you have to bring forward,” Schlitt explained.

Schlitt says any business or school interested in doing a training session should reach out to the MSP or sheriff’s office.

Michigan School Safety Commission Chair Lt. Col. Chris Kelenske released a statement about MSP’s response following the Oxford High School shooting.

In the statement, Kelenske said, “In addition to the quick response yesterday by emergency responders, school personnel and students, there is no doubt that the school safety training, drills, exercises and planning that were conducted in advance by the Oxford School District and emergency responders saved lives.”

Kelenske said planning and informational documents were emailed to school administrators across Michigan to “Assist them as they continue to evaluate potential threats and put into place preventative measures to mitigate threats and maintain safe learning environments in our schools.”

Starting on February 1, 2022, schools can apply for $10 million worth of grants to upgrade security measures through the Competitive School Safety Grant.

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