My Name Is ... Katie Burkhardt

'My fight or flight response diminishes when other people need protecting'


Faith and family

Faith and family are important to me.

I went off to college, to the University of Mississippi. I didn't get my degree, but I had a lot of fun. My family became an afterthought after partying.

Then, I had a mental health scare. I slipped into a depression, which runs in my family. When things got bad, it wasn't my partying friends standing there. It was my family, even those members I had neglected, by my side.

Learning to deal

I work as a nanny, and I teach CPR part-time for my own company.

Nannying is much more than babysitting. I take the place of a parent. I cook and clean and do laundry. I do educational things with the kids. I help them learn to deal with anger and emotions.

I've always had a love for kids. I love their innocence. They don't see the bad stuff in the world. I get to watch them grow and learn.

I'm also on an event security team for a local organization. I have training in “verbal judo,” pressure points, handcuffs, batons and firearms.

Learning to use a gun was easier than I thought. Safety is of course the priority.

We go to a firing range to do qualifications. Our instructors will try to jam our guns, and work with different target distances.

More prepared than I thought

We do active shooter trainings, with people hiding in different areas firing blanks. The idea is to see how hard it is to hear where a gun is coming from.

I've learned I was a lot more prepared for an emergency than I thought. My fight or flight response diminishes when there are other people who need protecting.

During one of our events, there was a carpet cleaner on site whose van caught fire. Everyone around me was running away from the flames, but I grabbed a fire extinguisher and ran toward it. I want to be someone who takes action when things get bad.

I don't really know what an active shooter situation would be like. I feel prepared for it and like I have the right training, but nobody knows how they'd react in the real thing. I hope I'd be confident enough to go in and help people. But I also hope I never have to.

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