A Wichita gun range is offering a free class for teachers who want to be better prepared in case of an active shooter on campus.
Officials with Thunderbird Firearms Academy, 2831 N. Greenwich, say the new eight-hour class is based on the “Run, Hide, Fight” strategy endorsed by local school districts but will give educators additional strategies and hands-on practice with survival techniques and casualty care.
“If your option is to run, where are you going to run? Why are you going to run? Where are you going to run to?” said Andy Padilla, director of range and training operations at Thunderbird Firearms.
“If you have to fight, now what? … We’ll talk about weapons of opportunity and stuff like that, but it’s also going to be different kinds of strikes as well as disarmaments.
“We go into depth with that and … tailor the training particularly to the school facility,” he said.
The class does not involve firearms or target training, Padilla said.
The class, scheduled for April 21, is the range’s first geared toward educators in a school environment. It’s free to the first dozen teachers who sign up.
Padilla, a retired U.S. Marine Corps infantryman who served combat deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan, said the gun range has offered similar training for years but planned the free class for teachers partly in response to the recent shooting in Parkland, Fla.
“Right now it’s in the forefront of everybody’s mind. A lot of folks are concerned about it, which I don’t blame them,” he said.
“This is all about giving back to the community and … allowing folks to live safer lives.”
About four years ago, in a dramatic shift that gained popularity after the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School, the Wichita district adopted the “Run, Hide, Fight” strategy, which advocates fighting back against violent intruders as a last resort.
A video produced by the Wichita district directs educators to use whatever objects they can find as weapons, such as chairs, hot coffee, fire extinguishers and even heavy books.
Most districts do not provide hands-on survival training for teachers, however, and crisis drills at area schools still focus on evacuation or lockdown.
“We have some teachers and school employees and such that have attended classes in the past and are really eager to get into this type of training,” Padilla said. “So we’re making sure we’re doing whatever we can to provide that.”
Space for the class is limited. For more information or to sign up, contact Thunderbird Firearms Academy at 316-613-2336.