Rome police officer Don Davis

Rome police officer Don Davis discusses statistics about active shooters, defines the event and also what to do in the event you're caught in an active shooter situation. / John Bailey

Run, block the door or fight. On average, you’ve just got to survive three minutes.

That time frame is the average response time for law enforcement to arrive at an active-shooter situation, which is usually when the incident ends.

In time surviving or escaping is key, Rome police officer Don Davis told members of the Exchange Club on Friday — but to do that you must be decisive and act.

“The instinct to deny a thing is a very strong one,” Davis told the group. “The people who survive are the people who don’t deny what is happening to them.”

He referred to pilot training where they were dunked in a pool while in a cockpit. By himself, he said, it wasn’t a problem. Once the trainees were put in as a group, and people panicked, it became a different situation. Being kicked and pummeled by others attempting to escape made the drill more complicated, and panic bred panic.

At that moment you must calm yourself and act.

“One person who isn’t calm can affect a whole group of people,” Davis said.

One minute

In Rome, the estimated local response time within the city for a high priority call is around one minute.

Mainly, he joked with Exchange Club members, because “Rome has a lot of cops.”

And those cops — along with the county police, sheriff’s office, probation officers and Georgia State Patrol, to name a few, — all respond to emergency situations.

“We’ve trained our officers for years — the first man that arrives, he goes in,” Davis said.

In that decisive moment, he said, while you now only have to survive for just over a minute until police arrive, you must act.

Don’t just hide, get away to a place you can be secure. If you can’t do that — it’s time to fight.

“If you’re caught in an open area it’s time to fight for everything you’re worth,” he said.

Once police arrive the best thing to do is get down and follow commands. At that point don’t move, just show your hands while the police sort the situation out, he said.

Another thing people can do to prepare is to learn how to treat severe wounds.

“Most deaths are from blood loss — so easy to treat if you know how to use a tourniquet,” Davis said.

He directed listeners to the Committee for Tactical Emergency Casualty Care website at c-tecc.org which has guidelines for emergency care in combat or active-shooter situations.

JBailey@RN-T.com