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Seattle nightclub workers undertake unique training for active shooters

Erin Martin

SEATTLE - Workers in the city’s nightlife industry are taking a new approach to deal with deadly mass shooting incidents such as the one in Thousand Oaks, Calif. The measures likely won't stop a gunman, but they could help save lives.

The massacre inside the Borderline Bar & Grill on Wednesday shows that even efforts like pat-downs and metal detectors are meaningless if the person just shoots his way through the security staff. However, basic trauma care can give people who are shot a fighting chance until police and paramedics arrive.

Erin Martin knows how to make a mean cocktail, but this managing bartender at Central Saloon in Pioneer Square is also trained to help assist a shooting victim.

“If someone's bleeding, I can administer first aid,” Martin said.

Jerry Flatterich works security at various clubs, but also helps teach a medical course for others in the nightlife industry.

“Chest seals, tourniquets, pressure bandages, stuff like that,” Flatterich said, adding that the deadly shooting in California this week only highlights the importance of such classes. “These days with the way things are going, it's not if anymore. it's when."

Bouncers, bartenders and wait-staff likely can't stop the bullets, but in Seattle, many are learning how to step-in and help until first-responders arrive.

Martin, who undertook a different but similar medical course, calls it invaluable.

“Literally life and death,” Martin said.

In addition to the medical classes, nightlife workers are also learning run-hide-fight techniques to deal with an active shooter. The next class is set for Dec. 19 in Ballard.

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