public safety

Being your own first responder key to surviving active shooter attack

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News There’s no place to hide it seems from mass shootings. Bowling Green Sgt. Mike Bengela, a 28-year veteran, gave a presentation on how to survive an active shooter just days after a gunman killed 11 in the Tree of Life congregation in Pittsburgh and another gunman killed two people in a Kroger store in Jeffersontown, Kentucky. And earlier in the year, 17 died at Stoneman High School in Parkland Florida. Since his talk, the nation was sent reeling again when a gunman killed 12 at a country-western bar in Thousand Oaks, California. Praying, shopping, studying, line dancing — that’s what people were doing when they became targets of armed assailants. Since Columbine in 1999, more that 350 people have died in such incidents. Law Enforcement and safety official have not been standing still. The advice for both people under attack and for law enforcement has changed. Bengela’s talk, sponsored by the Bowling Green Chamber of Commerce and UBS Financial Services, was based on the ALICE protocol — alert, lockdown, inform, counter and evacuate, or a simpler variation — run, hide and fight. Bengela said at Columbine victims took shelter within the library, even though there was a door through which they could have exited. They hid under desks as they had been taught. That made them easy targets. The “kill rate” for “static targets” is “astronomical.” If they had exited, he said they would have headed to a rallying spot. That location was known to the shooters — who he refused to name rather than to give them more notoriety.  They had rigged propane bombs in the trunks of their cars and parked them where they knew people fleeing the building would assemble. But because the watches they used had plastic parts, not metal, the bombs failed to detonate. Otherwise hundreds more would have died. What these killers want, he said, was a high body count. But, as a retired teacher attending noted, police tactics have also changed. At Columbine they waited outside until the SWAT team arrive.  In such attacks, someone dies every 16 seconds. So now officers go in solo to try to stop the vicim. At the Thousand Oaks club shooting, a sheriff’s deputy died doing that.  Each instance has taught law enforcement something. The first option should not be to duck and cover, but to flee. If that’s not possible, do what you can to blockade yourself and others,  and if possible resist, he said. Bengela went through the shootings at Virginia Tech, looking at what happened in each room. Those they were passive died. In other rooms people jumped out windows. In one a professor, who was a Holocaust survivor, and one of his students, blocked the door of the room. They died in their efforts, but everyone else in the room lived. “You are your own first responder in the situation,” Bengela said. “You have to buy time to save your life.” First, he said, “if you can get out, get out.” A person with a concealed carry permit may decide to handle the situation. “That may save lives.” But if that person has family, including children, present, “that may that may not be go time.” If someone enters a building, and someone with CCW has a weapon…

Read More

Route 6 project steering toward fewer fatal crashes

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   U.S. 6 offers few challenges to drivers. It’s about has flat and straight as they come. But the route that stretches east-west just south of Bowling Green is the site of many fatal crashes. “It’s the number one deadly killer road in Wood County,” said Sandy Wiechman, coordinator of Wood County Safety Communities. In the past three years, there have been 18 fatalities on Route 6 in Wood, Henry and Sandusky counties. During that same period, there have been 252 injuries and 745 property damage incidents on the roadway. So the route is now the focus of “Safe 6 Initiative,” which will coordinate law enforcement agencies to target aggressive driving behaviors on Route 6. The top causes for crashes on the route have been identified as failure to yield, failure to keep assured clear distance, going left of center, unsafe speeds, and improper passing. Route 6 is the second largest federal highway in the U.S., second only to U.S. 20, Wiechman said during a gathering Tuesday of area law enforcement, Ohio Department of Transportation and AAA officials. On its route from California to Massachusetts, Route 6 travels across Ohio farmland in the west, up to Lake Erie, and then through wooded areas of Ohio’s east. “It cuts through the heartland of Ohio,” Wiechman said. The roadway is used by many area residents for their daily commutes. Traffic increases in the summer, as motorists use the route to get to Lake Erie or other vacation destinations. Ohio State Highway Patrol Lt. Angel Burgos, of the Bowling Green post, said Route 6 is known for being a dangerous road, high in fatalities. Burgos has had to make death notifications to families of the victims. “The driving behavior just needs to change,” he said. “Hopefully, we can make Route 6 a lot safer this summer.” The high number of crashes on the route is a “head-scratcher,” according to Staff Lt. Jerrod Savidge, of the Ohio State Highway Patrol. “It’s straight. It’s flat. It’s kind of a boring drive,” Savidge said. Many of the crashes are caused by drivers failing to yield or going left of center. Edgar Avila, president and chief executive officer of AAA, is working with local law enforcement on the traffic safety initiative. More than 90 percent of vehicle crashes are caused by human error, he said. “AAA is happy to partner with Wood County Safe Communities,” Avila said. One of the focuses will be to take away distractions when driving. “AAA is asking drivers to put away devices and just drive,” Avila said. Wiechman agreed. “It does only take one time,” for a crash to occur. “We need to buckle up, hang up and heads up.” Drivers stopped on Route 6 will be handed safety information. Tips for avoiding potential crashes for those in passenger cars: Obey all traffic control devices. Follow the speed limit. If the weather is hazardous, adjust your speed accordingly. Always wear your seatbelt. Leave two to three car lengths between you and the car in front of you. Stay focused on your driving. To avoid crashes with commercial vehicles: Remember, if you cannot see the driver, they cannot see you. Allow for safe lane change. Maintain a safe distance. Be patient. Allow extra space for stopping.


BGSU named one of top 100 safest campuses

From BGSU OFFICE OF MARKETING & COMMUNICATIONS Bowling Green State University is ranked 32nd on the 2018 list of Safest Colleges in America, and one of only two universities in Ohio ranked in the top 100. The ranking was created using the most recent data from the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting and the National Center for Education Statistics. The top-ranked colleges boast safe campuses with little or no crime and low overall crime rates (off campus). “We are pleased to again be recognized as one of the safest colleges in the country,” Interim President Rodney Rogers said. “This is a great reflection of the living and learning environment at BGSU and the quality of life in the city of Bowling Green.” Individuals can support this effort by being aware of their surroundings, by reporting criminal or suspicious activity and by getting involved in University-sponsored crime prevention programs. The BGSU Department of Public Safety provides around-the-clock protection and sponsors many crime prevention programs. The Campus Escort Service, University Shuttle, sophisticated outdoor lighting system and outdoor emergency telephones combine to provide a campus environment that feels safe and secure. For information about crime prevention, policies for reporting crime on campus and crime statistics for the most recent three-year period, see the BGSU Campus Security and Fire Safety Report. Four-year institutions with enrollment of 10,000 or more were accessed to compile the 2018 list of Safest Colleges in America. Alarms.org created the list after finding that campus safety contributed to anxiety about college.