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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Collierville officials say joint active shooter training with other Mid-South law enforcement agencies has already saved lives, demonstrating the importance of everyone having situational awareness.

Collierville Police and Fire underwent training just three months ago.

“The guys yesterday because of the training, the equipment furnished to us, they saved lives. We got in quick and got out quick,” said Collierville Fire Department Chief Buddy Billings.

First responders say those actions made the difference during Thursday’s deadly mass shooting inside a Kroger.

“As we entered that building, it was very obvious that the employees and even the customers knew what to do.” said Collierville Police Chief Dale Lane. “There was run, hide, fight. They secured themselves.”

“And I remembered that technique where we had to go to the back of the store and stay there,” Kroger employee Brignetta Dickerson said.

“We removed people from freezers, closets, hiding between pallets of groceries but they did what they do until we could get in there to help,” Lane said.

Police responded in a matter of minutes. Active shooter course instructors say during these situations and even before every second counts.

“Within the first ten seconds of entering any building we want you to identify as many exits as you can,” emergency services specialist Terry Donald said.

Instructors want you to know how to run, hide and fight if you find yourself in a situation like what happened at Kroger.

“Having those steps in place, having memorized them, helps you to have your life saved,” Donald said.

Because once the emergency happens, it’s too late to prepare.

“We hope it doesn’t happen, but hope is not a plan and that’s what you saw, the plan played out, preparation leading up to this response,” Lane said.

Instructors say rely on the training and do not pull out your weapon in an active shooter situation because that impacts law enforcement’s ability to do their job.

If you’re interested in a training session, you can request one from the Shelby County Office of Emergency Management.