I spent yesterday working as a safety officer at an active threat response training for university officials. This is the same course I've attended, and now periodically assist as a safety officer. Not only is it enjoyable to see and help people learn these skills, it helps with my education and knowledge as well.
Photo by Kurt Willson of the Missoulian. Please check out the Missoulian article: Mild-mannered UM administrators learn to fend off gunmen.
While I speak and write about this same topic, the benefits of this course are in the six active law enforcement instructors who teach under the name Armed Intruder Training Group, and the scenario training with padded attackers and “live” shooting in the building. (Blanks are used for the sound and smell of the attacks.)
It is fortunate that we have a team of trained professionals that teach these skills locally, and that I've had the opportunity to attend the training and now assist them. While the situations this training helps prepare people for are rare, they happen, and this kind of training can make a difference.
Here is a video from yesterday filmed by the university newspaper. (If you watch close you can see me at the very end after the shooting of fire extinguishers.)
This training won't make someone into a police officer, special tactics operator, or even an accomplished martial artist or fighter. But this training will open peoples eyes, and show them that there are things they can do when the police are not there. You don't have to hide and be killed. You have options. Yes, escaping to safety is best. When you can't escape, barricading yourself in where an attacker can't get you may save your life and the lives of others. However, when all else fails, regular people can fight back and take out an armed attacker. (A blast from a fire extinguisher and then getting hit in the face with the extinguisher will stop most people.)
I encourage everyone to learn what you can do if faced with this kind of situation. I'm working on a book that will share a lot of information, but a live course with adrenaline producing scenarios and live practice with padded attackers and real fire extinguishers like everyone did yesterday is idea. You don't have to be a victim. A little knowledge, increased awareness, and some training can go a long ways to keeping you safe.