TONAWANDA N.Y. (WIVB) — The Town of Tonawanda is equipping its residents with the skills needed to survive an active shooter.

“We’re trying to give people the tools and the resources and the mindset to be able to respond in an instant to protect themselves and get out of harms way while the police are on their way,” said Police Captain Mark Shoemaker.

The Town of Tonawanda Police Department and Paramedics are putting on the “Civilian Response to an Active Shooter and Stop the Bleed” program on June 27, June 29 and July 2.

“Like everybody says, it’s a crazy world and the more information you have and the better prepared you are, the better your chances are,” said resident Matt Pusatier.

“God forbid I am in that situation, that I can help other people, maybe to get away? Or if they were injured how I could help,” said resident Pam Baia.

The training focuses on how residents can stay vigilant about shootings and actions to take if they’re involved in an active-shooter situation. The town paramedics will provide first aid training.

“How to actually defend, how to avoid, and how to deliberate that decision making process so you can get out of there,” Shoemaker told News 4.

Police officials say these active shooter training sessions come in response to the Tops shooting on Jefferson avenue in Buffalo last month, which was then followed by the school shooting in Uvalde, Texas.

“It’s always been, it’s going to happen somewhere else, it’s always somewhere else,” Shoemaker said. “Well then obviously we know what happened here in Buffalo. It happened here in our own hometown and then everybody was like oh, we better get some more training.”

The program is open to Town of Tonawanda residents 16 years old and older.

To register online, click here.

Here are the available dates and times:

  • June 27 (Sheridan Park Fire Dept.): 6:30 p.m. – 9:30 p.m.
  • June 29 (Ellwood Fire Dept.): 6:30 p.m. – 9:30 p.m.
  • July 2 (Brighton Fire Dept.): 9 a.m. – 12 p.m.

Sarah Minkewicz is an Emmy-nominated reporter from Buffalo, N.Y. who has been part of the News 4 team since 2019. See more of her work here and follow her on Twitter.