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February 20, 2018 -
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Last week’s horrific mass shooting at a Florida high school highlighted the terrifying and sad need for facility managers at K12 schools to make sure their occupants know how to react in the case of an active shooter in a building. This FacilitiesNet article published not long after the massacre at Sandy Hook suggests there should be three main goals when performing an active shooter drill. First, as hard emotionally for students, administrators, and teachers as it may be to do, it’s important to make the drill as realistic as possible. The drill is important both for law enforcement to be able to practice neutralizing a shooter at the specific facility and medical personnel to know how and where to possibly triage victims. These individuals should absolutely be involved in an active shooter drill. Of course, the drill is critical for building’s occupants to know how to respond. Therefore, the second goal is to make sure that students and teachers have some experience, and also that there is a plan for reunification with parents and family members. A third goal for a drill is to set up smart and efficient communication protocols so that everyone can react quickly as the situation changes. Of course, good communication starts with the drill itself – it’s absolutely crucial to ensure that while the drill is realistic, everyone involved understands it is a drill, and not a real event. For more tips on performing an active shooter drill, check out this page from FEMA. This Quick Read was submitted by Greg Zimmerman, executive editor, Building Operating Management. Read his cover story profiling Northwestern University’s vice president of facilities management, John D’Angelo.