What should we teach our kids & employees in an active shooter situation?
A very simple question to ask, but if you ask most anyone they can’t answer you. Of course the administration and management can give you chapter and verse on what to do, but they aren’t the ones that need to know the plan.
The easiest idea is to teach both the kids and employees a simple plan that has been in use by the Department of Homeland Security for a number of years. It works for both schools and businesses. It’s relatively simple and inexpensive to implement. Run, Hide, Fight.
The basic premise is this. If you can get out and evacuate the building then do it. This may not be the best option, but if it is there then it needs to be attempted.
One caveat to this is that if the shooter is a student/employee (or former) who knows these routes better than them? Think about breaking the rules and using a different route, if possible. This will keep you out of the line of fire if they decide to use the evacuation routes as a shooting gallery.
If you can’t evacuate, then you need to find a place to hide and barricade yourselves inside a secure location. And by secure I mean as best as you make it. There will never be a place where you can guarantee your security and safety in an active shooter situation, but you have to do what you can.
And a caveat for this as well. If you have asthma, allergies, or other breathing, nasal issues, you should think about utilizing another location. This would be especially true if the ‘safe’ room is dusty or otherwise full of allergens.
This is a tricky one to even to think or write about. If you can get out then do so, as I said above. However, there will always be the chance of running into the shooter or the shooter attempting to gain entry into your ‘safe room’.
In this case you need to think quickly and utilize anything you have to fight them off and distract them from shooting you or your companions. This will be controversial for students, but it must be done or you could be finished – forever.
Pencils, rulers, books, hands, arms, feet, or whatever you can grab and hit them with will, hopefully, be effective enough for someone to help you or you to get out safely. Is this a guarantee that it won’t make them angrier? Not a chance. But what it does do is give you a chance to get away. Go for eyes or throat.
For schools or large businesses:
One thing that schools and large businesses may try is to use alert codes to alert the rest of the building. When the main office hears of a shooter, there may not be enough time to alert the school over the PA system. Something as simple as ‘Red West 2’ could mean an incident such as a fire at the west end of the second floor. “Black East 3 could mean a bomb threat or harmful person in the corridor of the east side of the third floor.
The codes need to be simple and easy to recognize for everyone to understand.
These all work. Again, there is no guarantee that anything will work. What works one time may fail miserably another. Think back to the early days of rocketry and the V-1 & 2’s Nazi Germany used. Then think back to the tragic loss of life in our own space program when rockets failed.
The key in ALL of this is very simple. TRAIN, TRAIN, TRAIN, TRAIN, TRAIN, and TRAIN some more.
Without proper and continual training you can’t expect any plan to run efficiently and effectively.
Robert D. Sollars is a recognized expert on workplace violence prevention and other security issues. With numerous interviews, blogs, articles, and 2 books he has proven himself in the security arena for more than 31 years, and 23 studying workplace violence issues.
His latest book ‘one is too Many: Recognizing & Preventing Workplace violence is available for numerous e-book formats. It helps all organizations to reduce their risk and limit their liability of an incident. And it does this by breaking the rules in several ways, as well as following conventional wisdom in others.
He utilizes his years of field knowledge to give real life examples of incidents pulled from both his own experiences and the news headlines. Contact him at 480-251-5197 or Visit his Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/oneistoomany), Here you will see and read about other items related to WPV/SV as well as incidents you may not have heard or thought about.