Gone are the days when we would prepare for these situations just incase it would happen. Unfortunately now it’s not a case of what if it happens, it’s for when it will happen.
An active shooter onsite is a very dangerous situation and unfortunately they have done a lot of preparation and recon before carrying out such an attack on a premises. This makes the threat even greater as they have came here with a mission and a full working knowledge of the premises and where to hit to ensure max casualties.
Unfortunately many schools and churches have little or no security measures to prevent an atrocity such as an active shooter. Or maybe the school or church have a very small limited budget for security or maybe they just don’t see themselves as a target and therefore think they will be ok.
Active shooters are becoming increasingly more aware of security step ups and therefore are taking their preparation to new levels such as the event in Las Vegas where the active shooter’s main target was a concert across the street from the hotel he was firing live rounds from. The concert took every single security precaution that was within their control to do so but unfortunately a nearby hotel was never in their control and would never have expected such an event to happen since it was not within their concert area.
What I’m trying to say is that these active shooters are armed with vast knowledge of the area where they carry out these attacks.
Schools will alway be a high profile target as there are large numbers of people guaranteed to be in their within a certain time frame in the day and following a schedule. Many schools have security guard’s controlling their entrances and are the first line of defence to prevent active shooters from entering. However we need to train and show our staff and pupils in the school what to do when such an event happens, it’s not one or two people’s responsibilities to ensure everyone is safe it’s every single person’s responsibility to ensure that they are safe and should be taught what to do RUN, HIDE or FIGHT. Shown every possible exits, shown things to look out for and what to report to teachers or security should something seem suspicious.
Unfortunately what we are doing is not preventing an active shooting but trying to prevent casualties or limit the number of casualties.
Schools normally hold annual fire drills to prepare pupils to evacuate in case of a fire. Schools now need to prepare active shooter drills bi-monthly or quarterly and learn and implement new ideas from each drill to prepare pupils and staff physically and mentally. It’s one thing learning from a book about what to do and it’s a completely different thing learning from an active drill where they get to experience as realistic as it gets. If the school reaches out to the local law enforcement agency for advice on how to run such a drill they will surely provide guidance and advice on how to do this.
Staff and pupils should be showen how to block entrances to slow down an active shooter until help arrives. They should be taught to identify key pieces of information that the police could use to help solve the situation such as,
1) How many shooters there are
2) Where did they enter the building
3) What type of firearms & how many
4) What were they dressed like
5) If you encounter them what did they say or do
All these key bits of key information can really help the police if you are able to contact them via mobile if safe to do so or if you can escape from the building and tell them.
Churches are likely to have less of a security guard presence however in the past number of years the security presence has stepped up a level. Church shootings have another aspect to consider as it is a religious place. Ensure your church has a security plan if you are unsure of how to construct one as your local law enforcement as they are ALWAYS willing to help and provide guidance.Keep the facilities secure, limit the amount of people with keys to access the building and if the locks have not been changed in years and new members have keys old members could also have keys so change the locks this will help restrict access to the facilities.
Remind your members from time to time that they should watch for anything unusual at the church. Greeters at different places in the church facility, from the parking lots to the church, should be trained toward awareness as well. Those with keen eyes and discernment can save lives.