GREENVILLE, S.C. (WSPA) – More than a dozen people have been killed in mass shootings in America in the last two weeks. That’s why one Upstate group is dedicated to training people on how to survive active shooter situations.

As simple as going to work on a typical day can quickly turn into a test of survival if you are not prepared.

On Thursday afternoon, the ear-splitting sound of simulated gunfire rang out in an office building. It was part of a training that IH Services employees encountered as they were taught how to handle active shooter situations.

“Active shooter events are up 53 percent in the last 2 years and workplace violence is higher now than its even been since the Department of Labor started documenting it,” said Chad Ayers, ProActive Response Group.

Ayers is co-founder of ProActive Response Group, a team with law enforcement background that is teaching people how to handle active shooter situations.

“Should this take place in the workplace, what do you do? What are your options to increase your chance of survival,” said Ayers.

The reality is it can happen anywhere.

“This is real. This could happen. This is not something where it’s probably not going to happen to me because I live in a small town. It’s real. It could happen,” said Charles Simpson, IH Services employee.

How you respond in the most critical times is what counts.

“We as people, we can fight back. We don’t have to become a victim,” said Simpson.

And that’s exactly what they were taught to do- survive. The employees learned the warning signs, how to be aware, and how to respond with a survival mindset.

It began with a class on understanding how to identify a threat.

“Especially in the most recent ones [mass shootings] we’ve seen, there were early warning signs that were portrayed either on social media, text messages, things like that,” said Ayers.

Then participants took part by physically barricading themselves inside and worked to slow down the shooter.

Later they learned how to stop the bleed if someone is shot and how to prevent a tragedy.

“You do it to be prepared. And that’s the same thing with this training. We want team member, we want staff to be prepared should the unthinkable thinkable even take place in the workplace,” said Ayers.

The following are some of the warning signs ProActive Response Group said you can look out for.

Warning Signs:

  • Development of personal grievances
  • Concerning social media posts
  • Understanding inappropriate interest in weapons
  • Inappropriate interest in past mass acts of violence
  • Uncharacteristic drop in work performance
  • Withdraw from normal social circles
  • Recent significant loss

If an active shooter situation occurs, ProActive Response advises you to defend against the threat:

  1. Evacuate if possible
  2. Familiarize yourself with emergency exits
  3. Secure your room
  4. Buy time

In the event you encounter a threat, respond:

  • Use improvised weapons
  • Remember you have power in numbers
  • Have a survivor’s mindset

According to ProActive Response Group, over 85% of active shooter situations are over in five minutes. They recommend buying time and only fight when your life depends on it.

While we can’t predict when these situations will happen, we can know the warning signs and ways to maximize survival.