Get Safe, an Orange County nonprofit organization and IRC community vendor, offers support and services to colleagues and clients affected by mass shooting in San Bernardino
TUSTIN, CA – Following news of the mass shooting at the Inland Regional Center (IRC) in San Bernardino, Get Safe executive director Stuart Haskin reaches out to offer his organization’s support for its colleagues.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with our friends and colleagues at Inland Regional Center today,” Haskin said. “IRC is our close partner in providing advocacy and support for individuals with developmental disabilities, and to think that someone could commit such a terrible act at a place dedicated to helping an already vulnerable population is truly unbelievable.”
Get Safe is a nonprofit organization that provides personal safety education for people of all ages and abilities throughout California. Get Safe has several programs designed for persons with developmental disabilities, including self-advocacy education and personal safety training.
Through both state and federal funding, Get Safe has conducted numerous programs at the IRC campus, such as self-advocacy conferences and personal safety group trainings for clients with developmental disabilities. Get Safe is also an IRC community vendor and has a contract for its GSCAT program, which offers IRC clients involved in the legal system one-on-one safety training, advocacy assistance and legal competency training. It currently has about 30 clients at IRC.
“One of our case managers was at IRC 15 minutes before the shooting started,” said GSCAT program manager Cynthia Gomez. “I called her as soon as we heard what had happened, and she told me that she was worried about her client who had stayed behind after their session to hang out in the lobby.”
Fortunately, the Get Safe case manager was able to get a hold of her client who said he had left before the shooting occurred, but says he did witness the police S.W.A.T. cars heading to IRC. Get Safe has since attempted to contact its other IRC clients, as well as colleagues and friends for more information and to see if they are safe.
“I don’t know why someone would target this organization,” said Haskin. “Our mission is to promote violence prevention, advocacy and awareness for this underserved population. 90% of people with developmental disabilities are abused in their lifetime. Regional Centers offer hope and support to families and individuals who are so often overlooked by the general public. I’m hoping the motive is unrelated to IRC’s work.”
Haskin, who teaches workplace violence prevention and crisis intervention training through Get Safe, says no matter how prepared you are, nobody expects to go to work one morning and experience an active shooter situation.
“Unfortunately, it’s difficult to predict the when, why or how,” Haskin said. “We want to commend the San Bernardino first responders and emergency personnel for their quick response, as well as the fast-acting IRC staff who helped alert police and keep people safe.”
“Although this story is still developing, Get Safe stands ready to help in any way we can. We are offering support and counseling services to our friends at IRC, as well as the community as a whole, as we all begin to recover.”
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