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Tuesday, April 16, 2024 at 10:44 PM
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Hutto PD teaches proper disaster response

Hutto PD teaches proper disaster response
Josh Bellenier, professional standards sergeant for Hutto Police Department, speaks to attendees at an active shooter training event Thursday, March 28. Photo by Sarah Walker

The Hutto Police Department taught about what to do if a mass shooter is on the loose, how to react and how to survive during a training this week.

Josh Bellenier, professional standards sergeant for Hutto PD, headed an active shooting training at the police department Thursday, March 28.

Attendees ranged from residents to school district employees, to private businesses among others.

“What this class is designed to do is provide that preparation where they don’t freeze in place, they don’t stall, they have a plan already in place so when they do perceive a threat, they are getting out,” Bellenier said.

At one point, Bellenier played a couple of videos depicting typical human behavior during life-or-death situations.

One of the videos was from inside The Station nightclub during a Great White concert in 2003.

The pyrotechnics for the show ignited a fire that ended up killing 100 people.

In the video you can see the concertgoers standing there for several minutes before deciding to move. When they did move, they moved toward the fire and not away.

Bellenier points out most of them were running back toward the entrance, where they came in, rather than toward safe exits.

According to Wikipedia, when confronted with a stressful situation, humans experience the flight-or-fight response. Some of the effects are increased heart rate, anxiety, perspiration and tremors.

The response is supposed to help the human, but it often hurts them as in The Station nightclub fire.

Bellenier says the goal of the class is quickly move people out of that shock stage and into an action stage where they can potentially save their lives.

Thursday’s active shooter class is just one in a long list of classes offered as part of Hutto’s Community SAFE Project.

SAFE stands for Strategic Actions for Everyone and includes classes on severe weather safety, hazardous materials spills and fugitives-at-large.

Training lasts 1 to 2 hours and is available to large groups. Those interested are asked to contact Lt. Dwain Jones at [email protected] or call 512-759-5978.

According to the Hutto PD website, Hutto is one of the few cities in Texas that offers this level of safety services to the community.

Bellenier says Hutto residents are the benefactors.

“It’s strategic actions for any event that may present itself so that our community is better prepared,” Bellenier said.

Police Chief Jeff Yarbrough said HPD intends to add other components to the program in the future, and he aims to eventually expand the program throughout Williamson County.


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