Hoosier businessman starts active-shooter preparedness business

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It's a scene that has become all too familiar of late.

A gunman opens fire in a public space, leaving behind victims and carnage and physical and emotional scars.

We have seen it in places of worship, stores, movie theaters, public spaces and schools.

Grieving parents, loved ones, friends and advocates prompt discussions about what can be done about active shooter situations, opening broad conversations about gun control, gun deregulation, mental health legislation, law enforcement, security and more.

A Seymour business owner hopes he can help provide one solution: Preparing the public for numerous active shooter situations.

Andy Rumph, owner of Woodlawn Family Funeral Centre, recently started B Safe Tactical Training to prepare clients for active shooter scenarios.

"All you have to do is look at the television and see there's a need for something like this," he said, adding multiple conversations with churches and other organizations about safety also prompted him to explore the business.

Rumph, a former police officer and county coroner, tapped Seymour Police Department Capt. Carl Lamb to serve as training manager to help organize and implement training events.

The business provides training that simulates active shooter scenarios at churches, schools, businesses and police departments. It also trains clients in tactical training, basic and advanced firearms training, threat assessments, personal safety, situational awareness and police training.

On Saturday, the business hosted its first training session at The Point church in Seymour. They trained 24 church members and staff in nine scenarios that could likely apply to a church.

The scenarios included robbery, domestic situations involving an estranged parent abducting a child, personal conflict situations involving church staff and a random shooter.

"We looked at the stats that we found to apply to churches and modified them to fit those situations," Lamb said.

He said B Safe will meet with clients prior to training to get a sense of what scenarios will apply to them so training sessions can be tailored to their needs.

What makes the business different is how real the scenarios are because they use real people, not video simulations.

The business is equipped with state-of-the-art equipment for participants to interact with each other. The equipment, Stress Vest, was a $70,000 investment and includes 12 laser handguns, two laser rifles, two laser knives, 12 vests, two tablets, a drone, a sound system, an arm sleeve, hats and more.

The firearms are non-projectile.

Participants wear the vests with front, back and side panels that serve as laser receptors. The vest is then connected to a belt the user wears on the lower abdomen.

Multiple participants each have guns that shoot signals, and when one connects with the vest, an electrical current is sent through the belt to shock the user to simulate being shot.

The idea is for participants to remember the encounter and improve if the scenario was to occur.

"The whole idea is to make it as real as possible," Rumph said.

There also are human factors the business tries to educate clients about.

"We also want to replicate the stress levels," he said. "People are unpredictable in these situations, and we want people to think about what they would do."

Sound equipment is used and projects loud alarms, screaming and other noises often heard during such incidents.

"If we don't have the sound equipment for an active shooter scenario, then how realistic is it?" Lamb said. "It's going to be chaos, and it's going to be loud with people being disoriented, and we're going to try to simulate that the best we can."

Lamb hired officers at the Seymour Police Department to serve as instructors.

He and Rumph wanted a staff with a variety of experience, so Lamb found officers that already instruct defensive tactics, firearms and technology at the department.

"We tried to cover every base," Lamb said, adding every team member is either a current or past SWAT team member or has military experience.

Steve Greene, pastor of The Point, said the church has a weekly attendance between 650 and 700 members for its worship services and hosts multiple meetings and activities throughout the week.

"I hope this heightens everyone's awareness of the potential threat," he said.

The congregation used the day to evaluate policies, processes and brainstorm new ideas.

"Some of the things brought up today were not something we even thought about," Greene said.

He has been pastor at the church on the city's east side for more than 17 of his 33 years in ministry. Preparing for situations like an active shooter was unfathomable when he was called to the ministry, he said.

"When I started in ministry, I never imagined there would be a need for this, but with every school shooting and place of faith that has an active shooter situation, it raises the awareness," he said. "I feel like the only responsible thing is to be prepared. We pray this never comes into play, but we're trying to be proactive and responsible in protecting our congregation."

Lamb said the equipment is the most advanced and impressive he has seen in his 30-year law enforcement career.

"Right now, the only places in the country that have this equipment are large police departments in New York, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the Secret Service," he said. "I can't find a downside to this stuff."

Rumph and Lamb agreed the training could be useful in schools, too.

The situation hit close to home last month when a student at Noblesville West Middle School returned to his classroom after being excused and opened gunfire, seriously injuring 13-year-old Emma Whistler and injuring teacher Jason Seaman.

Seaman has been hailed a hero for stopping the situation, and Whistler remains hospitalized. The boy who shot Whistler and Seaman has been charged with two felony counts of attempted murder and other charges.

Lamb said Seaman's actions saved lives, and he wants to train the same mindset.

He said video and data show that shooters are vulnerable at some point during every incident, and the company could train people to take advantage of those situations to stop the shooting, save lives and prevent further injuries.

"We want to train the mindset," Lamb said. "Just because someone comes in and they're a threat, an intruder or active shooter, we want clients to have the mindset of, 'You can win this confrontation,' and every scenario we're giving them is winnable."

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