School is back in session, and that means the school administration has to consider the safety of their students and staff for another academic year. As part of this, it’s often considered appropriate to add active shooter drills to the calendar, along with other emergency safety drills such as fire and earthquake drills. There are several good reasons to run these, but it’s important that they’re done carefully and correctly to avoid causing more harm than good.
Test Security Systems
One important aspect of running active shooter drills is using it as a chance to test your school’s security systems and ensure that they’re working as intended. This can also help in finding blind spots or issues in your security system and allow you to make a plan to cover those vulnerabilities so your school can keep everyone as safe as possible. It’s a good idea to find a way to test all of your systems, including weapon detection systems, access control systems, mass notification systems, and of course, surveillance systems. Security is at its best when everything is working as intended and integrated in a meaningful and useful way.
Keep Staff and Students Safe
The purpose of active shooter drills should be treated the same as fire drills and earthquake drills—educating staff and students on proper procedures in order to keep them safe. Running these drills informs everyone on how to respond to these events appropriately so that everyone knows what to do and how to stay safe even in a dangerous and scary situation. It also gives everyone a chance to see how things are being handled and open a discussion on potential changes that could be made to ensure better security or a more efficient staff and student response.
Do it Right
According to The Sandy Hook Promise Action Fund, schools have begun to confuse active shooter drills with active shooter simulations, which is an ongoing problem that needs to be addressed. Active shooter simulations are a military exercise that can be extremely traumatizing for young students. Active shooter drills should not simulate gunfire, threat, or death, especially drills happening in schools. These drills should be announced clearly as drills and should only be a practice in how to respond to an active shooter alarm in order to protect the welfare of staff and students.
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