CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- An individual response plan for when a gunman starts shooting in the workplace could be the difference between life and death, experts said at a training event Tuesday morning.
"The person with the best plan usually wins," said 1st Sgt. Michael Lynch of the West Virginia State Police. "If your plan can get you away from [the shooter's] plan, your probability of survival goes way up."
Lynch spoke at a training session for office managers and workers Tuesday morning at the Charleston Civic Center. About 130 people registered for the session, which aimed to train workers about what to do in the event of a workplace shooting.
The Kanawha-Charleston Health Department organized the training with the help of the Kanawha County Sheriff's Office, the Charleston Police Department, the West Virginia Board of Risk and Insurance Management, the West Virginia State Police, Kanawha County and the city of Charleston.
Having an individual plan for the workplace is especially important because the shooter is often a fellow or former employee who would know the office's emergency procedures and could use the plans to his or her advantage, Lynch said.
That was the case during a 1998 school shooting in Jonesboro, Ark., when two students pulled the fire alarm and opened fire, killing five, as students and teachers streamed out of the school building.
Survival options include running and hiding or, ultimately, fighting if there are no other choices, Lynch said.
That might mean being shot, but six of seven people who are shot survive, Lynch said.
"My mindset is, if you shoot me, you're only going to piss me off," Lynch said.
Keeping yourself in good physical shape, with a healthy diet, can increase your chances of survival, he said. So can wearing clothes that are easy to move in, he said.