OGDEN -- You wouldn't think real estate agents need any special training in hand-to-hand combat or how to fire a handgun, but this week, that's exactly what a group of them got.
About 70 local agents participated in the Realtor Safety and Self Defense Training Class, offered by the Northern Wasatch Association of Realtors and taught by instructors from SRW Strategic & Tactical Special Operations Training and Services.
Randy Benoit, with the Franklin Group, helped organize the event. He said real estate agents can be put in vulnerable situations when showing homes to potential clients.
"We just want to be safe," Benoit said. "That's what this is all about. You hope you never get into a bad situation, but if by chance you do, you want to be prepared for it."
The class was held at the Swanson Tactical Training Center, 2520 N. 1500 West, Ogden. The building has more square footage than a Super Walmart and features several training environments.
Randy Watt -- president of SRW, commander of the Utah National Guard's 19th Special Forces Group and former Ogden assistant police chief -- said Wednesday's training focused on a four-step approach of prevention, deterrence, detection and defense.
"It's basically just a set of concepts that will allow these men and women to be safer in their work field," he said.
The class ran from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., and students received a mixture of classroom instruction and hands-on interaction with instructors.
Participants were given tips on how to assess possible suspects, how to communicate with suspects, how to deploy any self-defense weapons they may have, how to prepare for the possibility of an attack and how to fight off an attacker.
Jan Hassell, an agent with Academy Mortgage, said she learned many valuable techniques in Wednesday's course.
"This has been an education for a lot of us," she said. "I think this stuff is good for any Realtor to know."
The 2011 Realtor Safety Report, compiled by the National Association of Realtors, looked at assaults committed on Realtors while they were on the job. The report shows no identifiable trends in assaults against real estate agents other than the fact that most victims are female.
The report states that, "Crime against Realtors is just like crime in the rest of the nation -- unpredictable, and almost always unprovoked."
In late January, a female real estate agent was attacked in an unincorporated area of Iron County, near Kanarraville, while showing a home. The Iron County Sheriff's Office is still looking for a male suspect who wielded a knife during the attack.
The suspect is described as being in his mid-30s, about 5 feet, 10 inches tall and 160 pounds with blue eyes and buzz-cut brown hair.
Anyone with information that may help with the investigation is urged to call the Iron County Sheriff's Office at 435-867-7500.