ST. ALBANS – Concerned parents and town politicians alike braved the snow Wednesday night to attend the inaugural presentation of SURVIVermont, the active shooter training presentation pulled together by local emergency service providers, at St. Albans City Hall.

SURVIVermont was created by a coalition of local medicine and emergency service providers. Presented by officers of the St. Albans Police Department (SAPD) and AmCare paramedics, as well as instructors and leaders from Northwestern Medical Center (NMC) and the Vermont Department of Health, SURVIVermont is a training program devised to prepare community members for what SAPD Chief Gary Taylor called “the worst thing that could happen.”

“The truth of the matter is that the frequency of these events seems to have increased over the years, and the bad guys seem to be learning from one another,” Taylor said. “We have to do the same thing. We’ve come a long way since Columbine. …. We’ve learned.”

SURVIVermont, according to Taylor, was meant to empower community members with options should they find themselves in a situation with an active shooter. It stemmed from the same philosophy that guided the SAPD’s preparations, Taylor said.

“I don’t think that you realize how much time and energy goes into thinking about things you hope will never happen,” the Chief said, emphasizing the preparations made by SAPD for active shooting scenarios. “My job is to prepare for the worst and hope for the best.”

The average shooting lasts three to five minutes. Taylor said he hoped that SURVIVermont would present people with enough training so they can react in that short time frame.

SURVIVermont is based off of several federal government-endorsed programs that were born from past shootings like those in Newtown, Conn. Those programs, See Something, Say Something; Run, Hide, Fight; and Stop the Bleed!; emphasize each piece of a mass shooting, from prevention to survival and post-shooting first aid.

While the program doesn’t guarantee that it can save everyone something happen, Taylor said he hoped the program could help “minimize casualties” in an emergency, regardless of where it might occur.

“The things that we’re going to tell you about tonight are universally applicable,” Taylor said. “It doesn’t matter whether you’re in a movie theater, if you’re in a mall, if you’re in a school or in a workplace.”

For the full story of the SURVIVermont event, pick up a copy of Thursday’s Messenger or subscribe to our digital edition.