Roanoke security professionals trying to learn from Las Vegas shooting

Police snipers and removing barricades may have helped save lives

By Rob Manch - Reporter

ROANOKE, Va. - Localities around our area are taking another look at their security policies for events following the shooting in Las Vegas.

We're hearing from officials in the Star City and a private security contractor about how they hope to keep people safe at outdoor events moving forward.

When gunfire erupted in Las Vegas, professional security officer Rex Crockett says first responders were experiencing a situation they had never seen before.

"There's really no way that you could have prepared for something like that, because it's a new thing. It definitely sounded like a belt-fed weapon, and that's something that hasn't been used yet," Crockett said, who works for the company Executive Security Concepts.

Crockett said, after an event like this, where more than 50 were killed and more than 500 injured, law enforcement try to learn what they can.

"I would imagine at big events like that in the future, law enforcement may have their own snipers on upper buildings scanning windows and watching, but this is a whole new situation. It's something new that hasn't happened before," Crockett said.

What was also new for responders to the scene outside the Mandalay Bay hotel was how many people were trying to escape. Roanoke Emergency Management Battalion Chief Marci Stone says, there are lessons there as well.

"We noticed that they had bicycle racks or fencing around the perimeters. We have a plan in place that we would quickly move those racks out of the way to allow people to egress in a large pile or a large group of people," Stone said.

But Crockett says there are things all of us can do to help prevent another disaster in the future.

"People are going to have to get more involved. Everyone's going to have to get security-conscious. There's a thing in the military, if you see something report something. Police, law enforcement, security, firefighters, we've all got eyes on, but we don't have enough eyes," Crockett said.

And if you find yourself in that situation, Stone says be as prepared as possible with the knowledge of what to do.

"You may be the initial first responder at the scene. You need to know basic first aid, basic CPR and how you would respond and assist your friend or your family member, the person that you came to the event with, or just a stranger," Stone said.

Potentially saving a life or even getting someone the medical help they need quickly in an emergency.

Stone says, another important thing to remember is that in an emergency, cell service can often become unavailable with so many people trying to call. That's why she says you should have a text group set up beforehand that you can send a quick message to in an emergency.

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