Correctional officers Capt. Dwayne Fortes and Lt. John Sarris from the Plymouth County Sheriff’s Department created their Fortes and Sarris Tactical Training (FASTT) Every Second Counts, Avoid Pre-attack Encounters (ESCAPE) program based on 20 years of experience working in corrections. To teach both situational awareness and realistic training aimed at neutralizing or defending against attackers who mean women harm. The officers are certified and experienced self-defense instructors to law enforcement and public safety personnel throughout Massachusetts. The basic awareness and women’s self-defense class is offered free to the public. Sarris said they developed the program to teach women how not to be a target, through awareness of their surroundings. Consequently, they also teach women how to fight back against an attacker with basic, simple techniques.
“We’re not training people to be fighters, just simply to be aware and not become a target, because in today’s society, you just don’t know,” he said.

In addition to class time, participants receive practical training including balance, stance, patterns of movement and how to target the eight soft target areas on the human body prior to an attack they feel is imminent or in self-defense as a counter attack. “We have mothers, sisters, daughter and female friends,” Sarris said. “Our goal is to keep you safe.” Fortes said the goal is to create distance away from an attacker in order to get away to a safety zone, which is anywhere away from the immediate threat. “Hopefully you do not become a target, as Lt. Sarris said, but if you do, it’s ultimately to create enough distance to get to a safety zone,” Fortes said. The goal is survival through escape by any means possible.

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