Raleigh restaurant, bar owners train for active shooter

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Dozens of Raleigh restaurant and bar owners and managers took part in a training course at Solas on Thursday. (WTVD)

There was a time when we wouldn't think a server at a restaurant would need to know how to handle an active shooter, but those days are long gone.

Mass shootings in Paris and Orlando have led to the hospitality industry arming itself with knowledge and skills for responding to a threat.

Dozens of Raleigh restaurant and bar owners and managers took part in a training course at Solas on Thursday. Officers with the Raleigh Police Department led a presentation and modified town hall so the business leaders could learn how to be ready should the very worst unfold.

"I'm always thinking that anything can happen," said Chris Moutos, spokesperson for LM Restaurants. The company owns and operates Taverna Agora and Carolina Ale House, among other properties and brands across North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia.

Moutos said he keeps safety top of mind and perhaps more so since June when a gunman opened fire inside Orlando's Pulse Nightclub, killing 49 people and injuring dozens more.

"The incident at Pulse Nightclub was a very big tragedy in very many ways," said Moutos. "And I do believe that that made everybody aware and maybe a little bit more aware of things that could possibly happen at any given time, at any place, anywhere."

That sense of urgency is why he and about 50 others from the local hospitality industry came to Solas to learn from Raleigh police on how best to train their staff when it comes to preparing for the worst.

"You can never be too safe," said Doug Jackson, spokesperson for Raleigh's Kitchen Cabinet, an industry advocate that organized the event.

"There's no certain threat or thing out there that we're addressing in particular," said Jackson. "It's really just more about being prepared. Our restauranteurs and their managers will have what they need to go back to their restaurants and inform the staff on the best ways to be prepared for this sort of thing."

For safety reasons, the Raleigh Police Department does not reveal specifics on how its officers respond to threats or how they train others to do so.

Moutos said after taking the active shooter course, he's now planning to evolve training at all of their restaurants to include some reenactments so that staff can see and practice what they would do to protect customers and themselves.

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