Indiana School District Has Three Goals For Active Shooter Drills

By Greg Zimmerman, Executive Editor  
OTHER PARTS OF THIS ARTICLEPt. 1: Full-Scale Active Shooter Drills Can Help Schools Prepare For The WorstPt. 2: This Page

Seger says the team established several goals for the exercise. First, to make it as realistic as possible, the drill would take place in two phases. The first was for law enforcement to identify and neutralize the shooter. That phase tested its new digital video manager system that allows law enforcement to patch in, in real-time, and communicate with all first responders. This is a system designed to save time, and thus lives, says Seger.

Making full-scale active shooter drills realistic helps not only K-12 facility managers, but also medical personnel. Seger says he's seen some drills where victims hold cards on their chests describing their injuries. But his team decided against that. "The effectiveness of a drill is determined in the planning," he says. "We wanted to be as realistic as possible for the first responders."

So a "moulage medic" was hired — this is a person who used make-up and special body suits to mimic injuries shooting victims might sustain. For the drill, the moulage medic created 30 to 40 "victims," some of whom were students. This made the drill more realistic, and therefore, valuable, says Seger.

Another goal for the drill was to test the reaction and response of staff and students, as well as parent reunification strategies. One of the lessons learned during the drill, he says, was to better relate to staff that they must know the procedures spelled out in the district's ADD (Avoid, Deny, Defend) policy, but also to know to use their own best judgment. "We can't tell them exactly what to do for every scenario," he says.

Seger says the exercise of performing the drill was successful in part because of what the team learned, and what can be done to improve. One thing Seger says he hopes to do is to incorporate verbal messages in the schools' emergency communication systems, as opposed to the "lock down chimes" in place. He's also looking into "gun shot sensors" for schools — these sensors would immediately initiate lock down and verbal messages.

Regarding the practicalities of planning the drill, Seger has a few tips. He says communication far in advance with all parties involved is critical. "You must have broad approval of the exercise," he says. "If people don't know it's an exercise, people can get hurt. Communication has to be done with all stakeholders." He also suggests budgeting for the drill far in advance. "This can be costly, but it's necessary," he says. Finally, says Seger, be prepared for how much a drill might affect the participants. This isn't like a fire drill, to which many students have been desensitized. A full-scale active shooter drill is a very scary, very affecting thing. "The students involved said they didn't anticipate it being so emotional," says Seger.

Continue Reading:

Full-Scale Active Shooter Drills Can Help Schools Prepare For The Worst

Indiana School District Has Three Goals For Active Shooter Drills

Contact FacilitiesNet Editorial Staff »

  posted on 11/5/2013   Article Use Policy

Related Topics: