“Practice is really the only way you’ll know how to react under stress and fear,” says Randy Benoit, an association member on the education committee that developed the course. “Using the talents and facility, we have developed real-life situations where REALTORS® learn how to detect a threat, how to reduce or eliminate that threat by proactive activities, and then, how, in a real-life situation, to protect themselves and escape.”
The Swanson center is a massive city under one roof—about the size of a super Wal-Mart—encompassing a bank, school, hotel, and several full-size homes. Along with state-of-the-art simulators, the facility also has physical training areas, classrooms, and a pepper-spray training lab. For members with a concealed weapons permit, there’s the opportunity to train on the use of a handgun in a simulated environment.
The first eight-hour training course, held March 8, included classroom training on threat detection, planning, and response. The optional hands-on training included actual physical contact with an instructor posing as an attacker. Dressed in protective gear, the instructor simulated an attack and allowed REALTORS® the first-hand opportunity to see what they would do—and should do—to escape an attacker. Students are allowed to strike, kick, and basically do everything in their power to escape the attack.
“We hope that this training is never needed,” says Scott Lalli, association president, “but by providing this education, we will have prepared the REALTOR® family member for danger if it happens.”