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There was a time when shootings in our country were few and far between. Currently, halfway through this year, there has already been almost 30,000 incidents of shootings in the United States and a little over 7,500 deaths. That is a shocking number. If that number of deaths were caused by an animal attack, there would be information everywhere on how to protect yourself. If it was caused by a drug, that drug would be recalled no matter the expense. So, this is important. We do need to take the time to educate ourselves, our families, children and workplaces about how to survive a shooting.
You may assume that your child is being taught at school how to respond in an attack. Most likely, it is simply a drill to hide quietly in a classroom. That has been shown not be one of the worst responses to a live shooter incident. After the awful shootings at Columbine, Virginia Tech and Sandy Hook (which used a very passive approach), law enforcement began to reassess their prior strategies. Now, most officials encourage people to take initiative in getting away from the shooter. And, if absolutely necessary, to fight back. Please check out these great (free) resources offered by trained professionals.
WHAT TO SAY TO YOUR CHILD:
Reassuring statistics to help your child realize that they have a huge role they can play in their survival.
“Virtually all students who get out of the school (even if they have already been shot) survive. (1)” – This is a huge concept for our children to understand. Even skilled shooters, such as police officers, miss their intended targets 75% of the time when they are in a real life situation. Just because someone has a gun doesn’t mean they win. Make yourself a hard target to hit. The reason so many are killed in mass shootings is because generally they are still, compliant and not fighting back. That makes for an easy target.
“You might need to get hurt in order to get away. If a gun shoots, it will be loud. The great thing about adrenaline is that it can help you to run fast, even if you are hurt or start to bleed. If you are hurt by a gun, you can get better most of the time, just like you get better most of the time when you fall down and get hurt and bloody.” (2) – This is an important fact that children may not realize, just because you are shot, doesn’t mean you die. Many gunshot wounds are not life-threatening.
“Television makes it seem as if scary things like this are happening all the time. But this isn’t true. Most of us will live long happy lives and never have to worry about somebody starting to shoot people at school. If something bad happens at school, follow the directions that your teacher gives you. Most of the time, the safest thing you can do is get quickly and quietly away from someone who is acting violent. Just get up and get out. (2)
Or, if you are more comfortable reading a book with your child, here are a couple of good options:
How Your Kids Can Survive a Shooting:
- Be vigilant. Take warning signs seriously. Almost every shooter has one of three situations: Psychosis, suffered a perceived wrong, or is involved with an extreme religious organization that encourages violence. Talk to an adult, parent, guidance counselor, police or employer about your concerns and observations.
- Be prepared by being well-trained
- Survive by going through the steps: React. Escape. Survive.
When seconds count, what is your plan?
- Where are the exits?
- What is my path to those exits?
- Where is a safe place to hide once I have escaped? (preferably bullet-proof – i.e. concrete or brick barrier, not under a desk)
- Don’t stop to think and investigate if you heard bullets.
- Leave everything behind (grab your cell phone only if it is convenient.)
- Begin working through your plan.
- Go in the opposite direction of the gunfire as quickly as possible. Warn others, but don’t wait for them.
- Get out of the building.
- When running, try to stay behind things and keep your head down.
- Hide behind something bullet-proof.
- If safe, call 911.
- Don’t be a victim, fight back if necessary. If your school has a policy to shelter in place, talk to your child about what to do if a shooter enters a room. Fighting back is your only option at this point. Throw anything you have at the shooter, books, chairs, desks. These are generally not trained shooters, nor are they expecting a fight. This can buy time and greatly reduce the amount of people shot. The shooter needs everyone to stay still – so don’t. Move, scream, throw and fight. In a word, survive.
- If in a place of safety, help others who may be injured.
- When the police arrive, put your hands up and don’t interrupt the polices’ procedures, which is to find and stop the active shooter. They must immediately search the building. They cannot help injured or scared people at this time.
- Don’t leave the scene or renter the building. You will need to give a statement to the investigators. Wait for first-responders to come to you.
(The above information is from Countermeasure Consulting.)
FREE (or low-cost) RESOURCES:
a.l.i.c.e. Training Institute – training certificates for small businesses, individuals and schools are $25. Crane, a Dallas-area police officer, devised a program that instead provided options-based, proactive survival strategies. “It’s a fallacy to believe that a passive response, or relying on a locked door, will always maximize survival chances,” Crane says. ALICE encourages individuals to participate in their own survival—to read the situation and make decisions in the moment. “A one-size-fits-all plan will always be inadequate,” he maintains. Nearly 15 years later, ALICE is now the most widely used active-shooter response program in the United States.
Countermeasure Consulting – This safety course previously was a paid course, but due to the high number of shootings, they have decided to offer the training videos free of charge. It is only 20 minutes long, but would be a great video to watch with your family. Sure to spark good discussion. I learned some very valuable information that I would not have thought of, if I had not watched this video. Thank you CC for this great resource!
Interview of Bill Worth, head of Countermeasure Consulting by Chris Fabry. He shares fantastic advice from years of work in the security field. He also offers training for groups, businesses, schools, etc. Definitely worth a listen!
Gun Violence Archive Do you think, “it could never happen here?” Check out this not-for-profit website that tracks gun violence and mass shootings nationwide. p.s. this is not a post about a position on gun control. It is simply a resource for your family. I hope it has opened your eyes and helped you make a plan so you can survive a live shooting, if you or anyone you love is ever in that situation.
Bulletproof backpacks – This may seem like a ridiculous item to most people. But, if my child was walking to school in an urban area (i.e. Chicago south-side), this would be a necessity. In most schools, this wouldn’t help because the kids leave their backpacks in their lockers.
Bulletproof backpack inserts – This is a more cost-effective way to make any backpack bulletproof.
Looking for more information? This Kindle book is free with Kindle Unlimited or $2.99 without.
(1) – Read more at http://www.commdiginews.com/life/how-to-teach-your-child-to-survive-a-school-shooting-crisis-49349/#Llybi2Dcgl0R5ktH.99
(2) – KidPower.org
Be blessed and safe!
(DISCLAIMER: I don’t personally have any training or specialty in this subject. I have just done my research for my family and would like to share the resources from trained professionals that I have found with you. I pray that you will never need this information. But, if you do, that it equips you, your family or friends with helpful knowledge on how to survive a live shooting.)
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