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K-12 Emergency Management Planning K-12 Emergency Management Planning

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Access resources from the REMS TA Center, the U.S. Department of Education, and Federal agency partners on key topics in K-12 and higher ed emergency management.

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Active Shooter Situations: Exercises

Most schools practice evacuation drills for fires and protective measures for tornadoes, but far fewer schools practice for active shooter situations. To be prepared for an active shooter incident, schools should train their staff, students, and families, as appropriate, in what to expect and how to react. If students are involved, to select the appropriate exercise the school should consider the ages of the students. In a study of 84 active shooter events that occurred between 2000 and 2010, 34 percent involved schools.13

Good planning includes conducting drills which must include first responders and school resource officers (where applicable). Exercises with these valuable partners are one of the most effective and efficient ways to ensure that everyone knows not only his or her roles, but also the roles of others at the scene. These exercises should include walks through school buildings to allow law enforcement to provide input on shelter sites as well as familiarize first responders with the location.

Each person carries a threefold responsibility.

  • First: Learn the signs of a potentially volatile situation and ways to prevent an incident.
  • Second: Learn the best steps for survival when faced with an active shooter situation.
  • Third: Be prepared to work with law enforcement during the response.

13J. Pete Blair with M. Hunter Martaindale, United States Active Shooter Events from 2000 to 2010: Training and Equipment Implications. San Marcos, Texas: Texas State University, 2013. Available at ActiveShooterEvents.pdf