GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - This business event was about saving lives. On Thursday, the Mississippi Gulf Coast Chamber of Commerce meeting featured a not so cheerful presentation on crisis planning.
The message: A good safety plan is a great business plan.
"I think that I find that most people…have a general understanding of what an active shooter event is," said Max Feen, protective security adviser with the Department of Homeland Security. "But, it's getting them to have the presence of mind and fortitude to respond appropriately and do the right things."
Feen had a two-part presentation. The first part was on the Hometown Security initiative connect, plan, train, and report. The second part described how to survive an active shooter.
It was a good message for the group, considering 37 percent of all active shooter situations are in the work place.
"At Center Stage, we have things going on all the time, and we don't know some of the people who come in either, so we want to be prepared for no matter what," said Ginny Russum, of Center Stage Theater in Biloxi. "The chamber gives us a great opportunity to have these little small meetings that we can really learn from them."
More than 50 business leaders came to hear the message at the Knight Nonprofit Center. Even if they've heard it before, it's good to hear again.
"We have a lot of contacts and relationships along the coast to help guide us in this direction," said Angela VanErp, security supervisor at Boomtown Casino. "A lot of this just reinforces some of the things we already do."
Josh Troutman, also a security supervisor, agreed this was one of the most important messages of the day.
"Regardless of what kind of crime you're dealing with, whether it's minor or severe crime, having a relationship with local PD, Sheriff's Department, whomever it may be, it's key to having good response time."