Posts Tagged ‘school preparedness’

Active Shooter Event at Your Business

Thursday, October 30th, 2014

What are the chances?

A little over two years ago I wrote for the first time about “active shooter events.”  Yesterday I saw in a recent FBI report such events have doubled in the past seven years.

And more than 2/3 of them take place at businesses or schools.

Do you work, or do you know people who work in office settings? Are you a student, or do you know students?

If so, do they know what to do if they suddenly find themselves in the midst of a live shooter event, or even hear shots?

Over in five minutes or less.

Run Hid Fight, Emergency Plan

Link to this video below.

Two thirds of active shooter events are over in less than 5 minutes, and one-third are over in less than 2 minutes.

This means If you find yourself in such an event, you have to make QUICK decisions.

Freezing or waffling or screaming are NOT good responses, and in fact may get you killed!

The City of Houston, with the assistance of a Homeland Security Grant, created a training video that is really worth watching. We saw it first at city hall, shown and discussed by our local police department.

The video seems to have become somewhat of a standard for how to respond – and my recommendation today is that you make sure your co-workers have seen it.

The Standard — Run, Hide, Fight: Surviving an active shooter event

 Run, Hide, Fight shows a simulated event taking place in an office setting.  The whole video runs only 6 minutes.

 CAUTION: Although the action is simulated, it contains some intense scenes.  Prepare your audience before showing it.

You can view the video on YouTube at:

The FBI report mentioned above has not gone unchallenged. Criminologist James Alan Fox at Northeastern University in Boston points to the fact that there is no official tracking mechanism for active shooting and mass shooting events. And USA Today’s separate report showed different totals based on their own news sources.

For this Advisory, it doesn’t really matter whether the FBI’s definitions or totals correspond to USA Today’s. What is important is to know how to respond  or even prevent such an event.

Can such events be prevented?

Of course, prevention would be the most desirable option. As someone in a work situation, here are some statistics from the 64 incidents documented by the FBI that should give you pause for thought:

  • All but six of the shooters were male, nearly always acting alone.
  • In about 10% of the incidents, male shooters targeted current and former wives and girlfriends.
  • Other family members were targeted almost as often.
  • Almost all of the shooters had a “real or perceived, deeply held personal grievance.”
  • Shooters were inspired by and copied other attacks.

Are there warnings?

As we have learned, many – although certainly not all – shooters have been identified by family, fellow students or co-workers as exhibiting disturbing behavior well before they go on their killing spree. Even psychologists or other professionals have known of these people’s troubles.

Unfortunately, most people do not say anything for fear of civil lawsuits or for fear of being branded alarmists.

Take a look at your own school or workplace. Are you all watching out for fellow students or co-workers?  Are you aware of some of the most common triggers for violence, such as divorce, financial problems, or other legal issues? Do you have someone to whom you can report unusual or threatening behavior without fear of reprisal?

You may not be able to stop a shooter event. However, you may be able to save lives by making sure everyone knows the survival principles illustrated in Run, Hide, Fight.

The principles aren’t difficult, but having them top of mind could make all the difference.

Share the video!

We are planning to show the video in two weeks as part of our regular neighborhood emergency planning meeting. Some of the audience members will be very senior citizens; it will be interesting to see how they react.  I’ll report on how the showing goes!

And if you show it to your CERT team or your co-workers or classmates, let us know what questions it brings up.  We want to share every good idea we can. Here’s the link to the video again,


Your Emergency Plan Guide Team

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Teacher, Worried About Your Kids’ Safety?

Thursday, October 2nd, 2014

Who takes top honors when it comes to emergency preparedness in the schools?

In September, Save the Children’s annual report card awarded Illinois the “most improved” title.

Disaster Master quizBut Illinois only “won” because the state had experienced tornados – and the old plans for tornado safety didn’t work!

What Illinois schools learned from November 2013 tornados:

  • The principal of Central Intermediate School in Washington, IL, said: “We had areas we thought were safe, but after the tornado, we looked at the debris and we thought, ‘No, we cannot put our kids in certain spaces.’”
  • He also reported that cell phones and even texting worked only sporadically – while there were injured people needing professional help. (Now the school is getting portable radios.)
  • At Washington Community High School, the assistant superintendent reported that “Hallways became wind tunnels, so now instead of shifting students into the hallways, we are moving them into interior rooms without windows.”

Where does your state stand?

The same Harris Poll that showed Illinois’ improvements showed that 21 states don’t even require schools and child care providers to have a basic emergency plan!

What about where you live?

You can head to Save The Children’s website and click on the map of the U.S. to find out what your state requires. (Click on your state, then on the report card to the right.)

Here’s the link to the map:

(This is a very long link. If you can’t get there by clicking, go to and simply type into the search box: “US Preparedness Map”)

Required or not, what can you do to improve your children’s chances?

If preparedness has been on your radar for a while, you are certainly aware of the various government websites that offer checklists and suggestions for family and business preparedness.

When it comes to school preparedness, your state department of education might have some resources, too.

As of today, my number one resource choice for teachers is . . .


This quiz, available at, is fun to take and will be a great starter for a classroom conversation!

You pick the threat and go through a series of questions that train children how to respond.  (Of course, that’s why it’s my favorite. Knowledge is good; being ready to take action is a whole lot better.)

Hint: Be sure to save the secret password for each level to go on to the next.

Here’s the link:

As you can see from the illustration above, the quiz characters are modern and you’ll find the cartoon drawings themselves to be professional and compelling.

Please check this out for yourself, and forward this email to any teachers you know. Share it with your PTA or with your home schooling group.

We can never do too much to protect our children, and being charged with doing too little, when the information is readily available . . . well, that’s unthinkable.

Let me know how it works out!



Your Emergency Plan Guide team

P.S. If you missed my earlier Advisory for parents, here is the link again: