While I would never advise a school or any other organization not to improve their physical security, it would undoubtedly not be first on my list of recommended safety and security enhancements. Although improving physical security is very important for a variety of reasons and is typically selected as the first option in response to calls for an increase in school security, Active Shooter Training for school personnel is my first recommendation.
WHY WE START WITH ACTIVE SHOOTER TRAINING...
Unfortunately in our world today, these calls for action are the result of some type of school shooting tragedy. They are not a result of some random property crime or simple assault that occurred on one of our campuses. When is the last time there was an outcry for increased security due to a laptop being stolen from a school’s computer lab or because two teenagers got into a fistfight? It just does not happen. We are accustomed to accepting these types of crimes and incidents as part of life that occur regularly and therefore we are desensitized to them. There is no feeling of shock, horror, or sadness because someone spray painted the front of the school.
Sadly, we as a nation all feel the shock, horror, and sadness every time there is a school shooting. No matter how frequent these become, they still shock the senses of the majority of society and inevitably lead to calls for improving school security. The demand for security improvements typically results in some physical improvement such as adding surveillance cameras, metal detectors, high-security glass, or even the addition of a school resource officer.
THE CASE FOR STARTING WITH ACTIVE SHOOTER TRAINING FOR PERSONNEL AND STAFF...
While these are all certainly steps in the right direction, any physical security improvement should be secondary to extensive active shooter training for faculty and staff. The reason for this is quite simple. Physical security measures will not prevent the majority of school shooting attacks. It is an unfortunate fact that the vast majority of these attacks are launched by current or former students who possess the inside knowledge to exploit the security vulnerabilities and gain access to the school.
All school personnel should be armed with the knowledge of what to do during an attack no matter what part of the campus they are on and no matter who is or is not with them. Having very specific active shooter response plans for every classroom, office, gymnasium, bathroom, locker room, and any other part of the facility is critical to saving lives because it allows trained personnel to respond instantly with a very specific plan and purpose. Every campus layout and school floor plan is unique and therefore should have plans and protocols specifically designed for that facility.
All active shooters understand that once they fire that first shot, the clock has started. They accept that there will be a very swift and powerful law enforcement response and they do not care. They do care about committing maximum carnage during that small window of time and that is exactly what they do and when they do it. Once law enforcement personnel arrive, they will be confronted very swiftly and their rampage will be stopped or they will flee prior to law enforcement arrival. All that being said, the focus needs to be on that window of time from when the first shot is fired until the event is over. The event is not over until the shooter has been neutralized and all persons in need of medical aid are in the care of medical professionals.
THE EFFECTS OF ACTIVE SHOOTER TRAINING FOR SCHOOL PERSONNEL...
Training school personnel on best practices of avoiding gunfire, proper barricading, counter assault maneuvers, and hemorrhage control techniques is the most critical element to improving school security. (Although every victim of an active shooter attack cannot possibly be saved, the grim reality is that several victims of past attacks could have been saved had personnel known simple bleeding control techniques and had the tools to apply those techniques on site.)
Training faculty and staff to respond to these events immediately and with a very specific plan and purpose will undoubtedly mitigate casualties and increase the survivability rate should an attack occur. While we will, unfortunately, never be able to completely prevent these attacks from occurring, we can absolutely tilt the survivability odds in our favor. Active shooters could care less about your physical security measures because they typically have nothing to do with slowing them down once they are already inside. What they are not prepared for is resistance.
In every active shooter event, there is undoubtedly a significant time gap from when the shooting begins to the arrival of law enforcement. Our active shooter training fills that gap. For more information about our training for your school staff and faculty and how we can help your school create a safer environment, give us a call at 615-236-6484 or go to defendsystems.com.