As part of the work of Save a Life Denver, the American Red Cross is growing a team of instructors to work with businesses and organizations and to prepare community members. On December 16, 2017 a Red Cross training was held to identify these special trainers. Dana Goldsmith, American Red Cross Disability Integration Specialist, along with 20 other volunteers, attended the training and afterward she shared with us the reason she feels so strongly about this opportunity.
New Life Church, Colorado Springs; December 9, 2007. I was 22 years old. My two sons were 18 months old, and 7 weeks old. My husband was deployed. As was normal for a Sunday, we had attended services that morning and I was meandering in the lobby and talking to friends as we prepared to leave.
My mother and I had planned to grab lunch and she had gone ahead with the infant as I headed for the door with my toddler and sister close by. As my son exited the building, jumping in puddles of slush from a recent snow, I heard a loud bang. I assumed a car had gone over a grate in the parking lot and kept walking. Likewise, my toddler continued exploring the snow, slush, and every little detail of the sidewalk. I had walked about five feet ahead of him and turned to encourage him, once again, to please hurry. As I did, two more BANGS interrupted my words. I looked past my son to see a man run out of the building, holding his two young kids; they were much too big to be carried. He shouted in our direction as he ran, “There’s a shooter!” I was clearly confused and I responded, “Really?” The man looked at me, wide eyed in disbelief of my reaction, “YES,” he responded as he kept running.
|The Goldsmith Family|
Everything became a blur at that moment. I dashed for my car as my sister called out to me that she had my son. She held him to her chest, shielding his head. As we bolted towards the car, I briefly paused, realizing my car was parked with no cars near it for several spaces. I briefly contemplated ducking behind a nearby vehicle because running in the open just didn’t make sense, but neither did hiding. I felt like a sitting duck. So, we ran.
The Red Cross Active Shooter/Stop the Bleed training changed me. The Red Cross approach to training was not to scare the class into action. It wasn’t a graphic reenactment of an experience like the one I never wanted to walk through again. The trainers were sensitive to the subject matter and understood the topic was both important, and delicate. In leaving the training, 10 years after my own active shooter incident, I felt for the first time like I had control over my life again. I now know that I have options; I have choices and tools, and I know what to do and how to do it. It isn’t just the knowledge, but the ability to take back my life from the fear placed there by that unknown individual all those years ago. I no longer wonder what I would do if it happened again. Now, I know.
Guest Post: Dana Goldsmith
About Save A Life Denver:
Save A Life Denver is a unique coalition of organizations dedicated to preparing metro Denver to better identify, respond to and recover from active threats. As a community, we can do more to prepare for, respond to and recover from active threats. Even though this is a difficult and uncomfortable subject to talk about, thinking about and planning for your response to an active threat can save lives. As a community, we will be more prepared and resilient if we are all empowered to save lives. Safe A Life Denver is a joint effort by community partners to provide resources and training to empower individuals to take appropriate action in the moment, and to talk with others about preparing for active threats. Follow us on Twitter at @SaveALifeDenver to learn more.