Merced company gives active shooter training to Dinuba school employees

New security fencing has been installed at Dinuba's high school and intermediate school, after a Merced-based company called Knowledge Saves Lives assessed the campuses and determined they could be safer.

On Thursday, the same company held two training sessions for approximately 350 Dinuba Unified classified employees.

The second session focused on keeping the district campuses safe from intruders and active shooters.

CEO Paul Llanez says their training is tailored to each school district or business they work with, and the employees learn by getting up and moving.

"We compare it to softball," Llanez said. "If I showed you a video on how to hit a softball, you'd look at me and say 'Now I know.' But until I put a bat in your hand to toss you the ball, that's when you physically learn how to do it. So that's what we're trying to replicate here. We're putting the staff through several different scenarios at slow speed and so they can get sort of that muscle memory down to learn how to do emergency type responses under stress."

Dinuba staff members learned about the best places to hide in a room, how to secure a door, and even practised using a fire extinguisher as a weapon.

"You feel like this training does help you more, opening up your eyes and explains what else you can do rather than just thinking oh what everybody expects you to do," said preschool teacher Hirma De La Cruz.

The training is timely because school starts on Monday, and recent mass shootings, such as the Gilroy Garlic Festival, serve as a reminder that safety is never a guarantee.

"It makes us know that what we're doing is much needed," said Dinuba Unified School District's Director of Instructional Services Barbara Thiesen. "Unfortunately in this day in age everybody needs to be focused on increasing security and just recently with the events-that just really solidifies what we're doing and the money that we've invested."

The work doesn't stop here.

In the coming months, teachers will receive training too, and Knowledge Saves Lives will likely assess the safety of other schools in the district.

Knowledge Saves Lives also plans to hold some free training events for the public, starting with one in Visalia next month.
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