FRANKLIN, Tenn. (WKRN) — Towns across the country were rocked by the images of another deadly mass shooting — the most recent at a school in Uvalde, Texas.

“The atmosphere with people is much much different than what it was when I was coming up,” said a Franklin native who’s known in town as Brother Henry. “You never know when you get in situations, do you duck? Get under for cover? You just never know.”

Franklin police look to answer those questions with training for citizens that addresses how to react in an active shooter situation.

“It really gives you that if/then thinking,” explained Lt. Charlie Warner. “If this happens, then this is how I’ll respond. Or, this is what I’m going to do. As we’ve seen, seconds save lives, maybe even your own.”

Located at the department’s headquarters on Columbia Avenue, the seminar is free and open to the public but pre-registration is required. Officers explain the importance of locating exit options as you enter buildings, direct you to respond immediately if you hear what sounds like gunshots, and exercise situational awareness.

Those skills are second nature to veteran Dean Hess.

“I do believe that everyone needs to be more aware of their surroundings and what’s going on,” Hess said, “and be aware that these people are out there.”

The goal of the class is to prepare as many individuals in the community as possible to react effectively if the unimaginable happens.

“When a group of people rallies together, even total strangers,” Warner says, “they can overtake an attacker and intruder and we encourage that. It may be a last resort, but it may be your only resort.”

⏩ Read today’s top stories on

Franklin police offer this seminar several times a year, as do other law enforcement agencies throughout Middle Tennessee. You’re encouraged to call your local agency to sign up.