Last week, the 3rd deadliest school shooting in U.S. history happened, now it has students and parents across our nation asking what would YOU do if you found yourself in this life-changing situation? We’ve covered mass shootings before, but this situation requires a different type of preparedness since it targets kids.
Your first thought during a school shooting might be to hide, but that mindset has changed dramatically over the years. The first thing you should do is prepare and train. As sad of a thought as it is, schools should prepare for school shootings like they prepare for fires.
Students should know where every exit is, how to open/break windows, how to use fire escapes and access ladders. When it comes down to a split second reaction time, you can’t waste it figuring out what to do, you just have to know. The most important thing to remember is DO NOT HESITATE! The first few seconds can alter the outcome of any situation.
In the event a shooter does enter the school, exit immediately and lock any doors behind you once your group has exited. Use any objects you can create an obstacle to prevent the shooter from reaching you, this can add seconds or even minutes to your exit time.
Most schools don’t have hiding places that are efficient enough for survival and most places are just dead-ends. If your only option is to hide, turn off the lights, pull down any drapes, and create any obstacles that prevent the shooter from reaching you.
If you have to make a move, move in groups, never alone. It’s harder for a shooter to hit any single target that’s on the move and in a group.
Fighting back is a valid response and strategy. If the shooter is rapidly moving or your group is too large to hide, the next option you have is to fight back. Even well-trained shooters have a hard time hitting a moving target, let alone at a long range. You don’t have to be stronger than your opponent to hurt them. The longer you can put up a fight, the better chance others have of getting away and getting to safety.
Once you are outside, run as fast as you can to your designated “safe site.” Have your hands up and be ready to be searched by police. They are looking for anything and everything in this situation. For all they know, you could be a shooter and your escape was blending into a crowd.
In the aftermath of a school shooting, don’t be afraid to seek help. Cry, ask for help, seek counseling, and talk about it as much as you need to. Return to normal life when you can, don’t let this event define the rest of your life.
If your school is interested in signing up for Civil Dispatch’s alert system, click here to sign up! This alert system allows school administrators to notify families and students of closing, emergencies and need-to-know situations.