Taking action

A Franklin supply chain branch manager knows what to do in case of a fire, tornado or earthquake.

But if a person walked into Radwell International with a gun, knife or bomb, Robert Tiedeken and his 25 employees would be unprepared to fight back.

So when Tiedeken heard about a public meeting that teaches business owners and residents how to flee or fight during an active shooter situation, he wanted to attend.

More than 50 people gathered Tuesday at Franklin United Methodist Community to learn how to create a safety plan and what to do if someone tries to attack people inside a building. Three Indiana State Police troopers taught business owners, clergy members and residents the key responses: evacuate the building, hide or cover themselves if they can’t escape or fight back, Indiana State Police Sgt. John Perrine said.

For the last year, Franklin United Methodist Community officials have been formulating a safety plan, sharing blueprints and diagrams of the building with law enforcement and teaching employees how to protect themselves and alert the rest of the building in an emergency.

After researching for months, safety and wellness coordinator Jeremy Van Deman wanted others in the community to be prepared as well in case an attacker walks into a public place or church, he said.

“Even just a little bit of information can save lives,” Van Deman said.

Perrine has been teaching similar lessons to school officials in the last three years. But about a year ago, Perrine tailored the presentation for businesses, churches and organizations, because the same type of situation can happen in those public places, he said.

Indiana State Police Trooper Jon Caddell said he can walk through a school building in four to five minutes. So a shooter could reach the entire building within the time that police start to arrive, he said.

Employees and community members need to prepare themselves to survive for at least five minutes, Caddell said.

In the past, Perrine said secretaries or teachers would look for an administrator so they could put the building on lockdown or call the police. Instead, teachers, residents and employees need to be prepared to call 911, turn on a safety alarm or get on the alert system to let everyone know that a shooter is in the building, Perrine said.

If you cannot escape the building, locking the door and putting chairs, desks and bookshelves in front of it is likely the best way to block out the attacker. While they night want to get into the room, the shooter likely will not want to waste time breaking through the barrier and instead will keep moving, Caddell said.

Business owners need to empower their employees to break company policy if needed in the case of emergency and fight for their lives, Perrine said.

After listening to Perrine’s presentation, Tiedeken plans to meet with his employees this week so they can create a safety plan.

“We have drills for fires or tornadoes, but we don’t have a plan for this,” Tiedeken said.

At a glance

Indiana State Police Sgt. John Perrine teachers school administrators, business owners and residents three basic rules for when someone tries to attack:


– If a clear, secure route is available, people should run outside or to a safe part of the building.

– While running away, people should not run in a straight line, since it is an easier target for shooters.


– If a safe escape is not possible, people should hide out-of-sight from the shooter, and put extra barricades between them and the shooter. For example, if an employee is stuck in an office, stack chairs or book cases in front of the door so the attacker would struggle to get inside.


– If a person is confined in the same space as the shooter, they can fight back by either throwing items at the attacker to distract them or use self-defense movements, like punching and kicking.