The days of simple fire drills are a thing of the past. Children today are reliving the era of our parents and grandparents, except that generation’s air raid drills and atomic bomb drills have been replaced with active shooter drills. But, are they also simply going through the motions akin to hiding under the desk if a bomb were being dropped?
There is no denying that times have changed for all of us, including our children. It is an unfortunate statement concerning our society when school is no longer a safe place, but the number one reason for active shooters doing what they do is to gain attention – either for themselves or a cause- and the best way to gain attention with a shooting is via mass casualties. There are few better, by that I mean softer, mass casualty targets than schools.
Evidence of the changes is evident to anyone who has visited their child’s school in the recent past. Doors are locked during school hours, entry is limited to a single point, visitors are required to pass through checkpoints or administration offices prior to entering the school itself and they are often escorted during their visit. But security professionals and school administrators realize that even the best security can be breached, especially by a determined individual. So, the final line of defense is to run drills with the students.
The problem with these drills, as I recently learned courtesy of a drill at my own daughter’s school, is they avoid 2 of the 3 principles related to surviving an active shooter event. Training manuals and videos on the subject, produced by both the Department of Homeland Security and FBI, advise a three prong approach to surviving an active shooter – Run, Hide and Fight. If possible, you should run, evacuate the building and escape ahead of the shooter. When you cannot run, either because of being trapped or not knowing where the shooter is located, you should hide. If you are caught in the open, or the shooter locates you hiding and your life is in danger, the last resort is to fight. Just like the fire drills of old – evacuate, secure yourself in a safe location or try to fight your way to safety.
The problem is schools are only teaching students and staff to hide. Although locking doors, shutting off lights and remaining silent is an effective response IF you need to hide, hiding itself is not the default response to an active shooter. Schools need to face reality and train those under their protection to follow all three prongs of the recommended response – RUN, HIDE, FIGHT! If the schools will not then you need to; I did.
Disclaimer: The content in this article is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the policies or opinions of US Patriot Tactical.