SOUTH BRUNSWICK — An active shooter scenario can unfold essentially anywhere.

And by the end of this year, several thousand South Brunswick locals will likely have a better ability to respond to such an emergency.

Since launching their Active Shooter Awareness & Preparedness (ASAP) program on Feb. 13, the department has seen overwhelming interest from groups and organizations that'd like a crash course on keeping themselves safe should gunfire erupt out of nowhere.

"We want people to be aware of their surroundings and we want them to have a plan," said Police Chief Raymond Hayducka.

More than 40 percent of all active shooter situations take place in commercial areas, he said.

The one-hour program includes a video developed by Homeland Security, along with tips following the national training model.

"There's three things that we tell you you can do," Hayducka said. "You can run, hide and, as a last resort, hide."

If one manages to escape an active scenario, Hayducka added, their hands should be up in the air as a signal to police that they're unarmed.

It's the department's goal to educate more than 5,000 community members through the program over the next 10 months.

"We do believe we're going to reach that and exceed it," Hayducka said.

Any group, business, house of worship, club or organization interested in booking a presentation can email pdtraining@sbtnj.net with the subject "MORE INFO." The department has a public presentation scheduled for March 12 at 7 p.m. at Crossroads North Middle School in Monmouth Junction.

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Contact reporter Dino Flammia at dino.flammia@townsquaremedia.com.