‘Active shooter’ awareness for FWKCC Breakfast Speaker Series attendees

Farragut business owners can learn how to prepare themselves and staff against “active shooter” threats and potentially prevent such threats by attending a Farragut West Knox Chamber of Commerce Breakfast Speaker Series, featuring panelists who will give insights into the issue.

Seats are filling up for the breakfast, scheduled for Tuesday, Feb. 26, in Fox Den Country Club, with the breakfast starting at 7:30 a.m. and the program starting at 8 a.m., FWKCC president/CEO Julie Blaylock said.

“The community response and membership response has been good,” she added.

The Fox Den ballroom has a maximum capacity of about 180, “so we will probably have to cap attendance pretty quickly if registrations continue as they have,” she said.

“I’m pleasantly surprised so many people are taking advantage of the opportunity,” Blaylock added

Presented by Town of Farragut, the event also is sponsored by Cyan Insurance Solutions, His Security and farragutpress.

Cost for the tickets is $30 for Chamber members and $40 for non-members. A table of 10 can be reserved for $275, and FWKCC is offering a student ticket — high school or college — for $15.

Tickets can be purchased and registrations made online at farragutchamber.com or by calling the FWKCC office at 865-675-7057 and provide credit card information.

According to U.S. Department of Homeland Security, an “active shooter” is “an individual actively engaged in killing or attempting to kill people in a confined and populated area. In most cases, active shooters use firearms, and there is no pattern or method to their selection of victims.”

Blaylock said the forum will tackle prevention and preparedness of, response to and recovery from such a scenario on a business-oriented perspective.

“Businesses are often unaware of the risks existing in their facilities, nor do they have policy protocol on record on how to recover,” she said.

Through its panelists, the program will provide federal and local perspectives on active shooter scenarios. The panel consists of Rick Hill, a retired Federal Bureau of Investigations agent and counter-terrorism intelligence specialist who now is owner of A&A Investigations & Consulting; Knox County Sheriff Tom Spangler; and Scott Brockamp, co-owner of His Security.

Amanda Hara, Emmy award-winning journalist and news anchor with WVLT-TV Channel 8 news team, will lead the forum.

The topic was one Blaylock had been considering approaching for more than a year.

“As active shooter tragedies have become something of an unfortunate norm, a lot of Chambers across the country have been participating in training called ‘ALICE (Alert Lockdown Inform Counter Evacuate),’” Blaylock said. “That’s typically more the practical law enforcement-type training, where they bring in officers or (other) trained individuals who will teach people how to respond in an active shooter scenario,” adding the response is “Run, Hide or Fight.”

Blaylock was prompted to pursue a forum on the topic after hearing from Hill after he spoke to Rotary Club of Farragut.

Active shooter scenarios “are unpleasant topics; I’m sure we don’t like to think about it. And we don’t want to ever imagine it’s going to happen to us or anyone we know,” Blaylock said. “Yet, it keeps coming up more and more frequently in the news and in the media.

“I don’t want us to live in a place of unnecessary alarm, but certainly ‘an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.’ “I think the more informed you are, the better equipped you are to deal with something when and if it happens,” she added.

When Blaylock talked to the Chamber board and executive board members about holding the forum, she said they “were responsive to it.”