Participants learn how to be prepared for active shooter/intruder at … – Newsbug.info

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Overcast. High 37F. Winds SW at 5 to 10 mph..
Cloudy with periods of snow after midnight. Low 31F. Winds E at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of snow 90%. Snow accumulating 1 to 3 inches.
Updated: January 24, 2023 @ 5:56 am
Photos by Carla Waters
Michael Sneed and Steve Wilder presented information on how to be prepared for an active shooter or intruder.
Steve Wilder and Michael Sneed make presentations at the Watseka Park District active shooter/intruder program Jan. 17.

Photos by Carla Waters
Michael Sneed and Steve Wilder presented information on how to be prepared for an active shooter or intruder.
Steve Wilder and Michael Sneed make presentations at the Watseka Park District active shooter/intruder program Jan. 17.
Steve Wilder and Michael Sneed of Sorensen Wilder and Associates presented information on how to be prepared for an active shooter or intruder.
“We are really excited about the class and the information you are going to get out of it,” said park district executive director Sherry Johnson. “We hope you never need it.’
Wilder told those in attendance at the Watseka Elks Jan. 17 that one should never believe it will “happen some place else”.
The event saw people from many different sectors of the community taking part in the four-hour sessions. There was a morning presentation and another in the afternoon.
“It went fantastic,” Wilder said. “After both sessions folks stuck around and talked to us, and really appreciated the training. They said it really opened their eyes to how realistic this stuff is.”
Two of the key points of the sessions Wilder and Sneed presented were that it can happen anywhere and that people need to be prepared for when it does.
“First thing you have to accept is that it can happen here,” Wilder said.
“If you accept the fact that it can happen at your place on any given day, you’re already light years ahead of where a lot of other businesses are,” he said, noting that he works with people regularly who don’t think it will happen to them.
“We encounter resistance in some of the training from people who say ‘I don’t know why we re doing this’,” he said.
Wilder said everyone should have a personal plan and businesses should have a business plan on how they would handle such a situation should they encounter it.
“One of my biggest concerns and where I consider the biggest risk factor that all of us have as companies, as employers, is domestic violence. All of us have employees with things going on in their homes and their lives that we know nothing about.”
He said his company has worked with businesses that have had such incidents happen.
“Things can go on in people’s homes that we don’t know anything about and find its way into the workplace and becomes a violent incident.”
Wilder said, “On a personal level anywhere you go, have a plan for survival. Do a little “what if” exercise? What would I do? How would I get out? How would I hide. How would I protect myself?
“In the businesses world, organizations, companies, corporations, whatever, you need to have a plan. You need to put together a good written plan, you need to train your employees on then plan and you need to exercise. Because just having a plan or policy is not enough. It’s going to collect dust in a three-ring binder sitting on a shelf. It’s no different than a fire drill. You don’t plan on having a fire, but you’ve got a fire plan and you have fire drills you practice. If you do have a fire drill or a fire alarm goes off people know what to do. It’s the same way with this, even though this is scary. We hear a lot of companies say ‘We don’t want to do exercise. We don’t want to scare people or make people think it can happen here’. They know it can happen here,” he said.
The sessions Jan. 17 saw participants from law enforcement, fire departments, healthcare, churches, schools and manufacturing. “It was a great blend of representation,” he said. “All of them came up afterward and asked if we could share the policy template with us or can you do this. That’s what I’ve been doing this morning is following up with the people who asked for a little bit of assistance.”
Sneed is retired law enforcement with 28 years of experience, including SWAT, master firearms instructor, US Marshal task force and KAMEG, as well as other agencies.
Sneed and Wilder both noted the people don’t know how they will react in a situation. The person who is considered a stellar employee may not handle an emergency situation well, while someone not considered the best employee could turn out to be a hero in an emergency situation.
Sneed explained different terms that are associated with emergency situations, giving examples to illustrate them. He said it is important that everyone refers to situations and items in the same way.
Wilder said he and partner Chris Sorensen started the first version of the company in the late 1990s at Wilder’s home. “We started out doing training for healthcare security,” he said. “Both of us were employed full time. At the time I was employed by Provena and Chris was the chief of security and police at University of Chicago Hospitals. We’d started our career together a lot of years earlier at St. Mary’s in Kankakee. We’ve been dear friends and almost like family ever since.
“We started in the late ‘90s just doing a little bit of training on the side from our full-time jobs. In 2001 it became a full-time thing, we had the opportunity to start the company full-time and it started again out of my home and running the company from there and doing consulting, primarily for healthcare, again at the time because that’s where our backgrounds were. But we actually got involved with an active shooter event that happened in Melrose Park, Illinois. That just kind of got our feet wet for this topic.
“By 2004 were had grown enough to buy our first office building in Bradley. In 2006 Chris came in full-time. We started a second company we have called Midwest Integrated Solutions, which sells and installs security systems. We’ve got a lot of great clients down in Watseka,” he said. Sorensen runs that side of the business.
Between the two companies, he said, they have 18 full-time and six part-time people. Sorensen Wilder and Associates has clients more than 500 clients in 49 states. The only state they haven’t worked in is Montana. “We work with a lot of insurance companies. We work with a lot of associations, whether it’s the National Retailers Association or a healthcare association or state agencies.”
Sorensen Wilder and Associates can be found at www.swa4safety.com and can be reached at 815-933-5977.
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