Prepare Your School for an Active Shooter

August 21, 2019


As students prepare to return to class, it’s important campus security personnel outline a plan to train faculty, staff and students for active shooter situations. To be adequately prepared, institutions must include everyone in training and drills, not just their security team. Ensuring everyone on campus gets adequately trained will avoid chaos or confusion in the case there is an active shooter situation on campus.

According to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s website, an active shooter situation typically lasts no 10 to 15 minutes before outside law enforcement has a chance to arrive at the scene. This is why, says the website, it is of the upmost importance every individual on campus is prepared both mentally and physically to deal with the situation.

Below are The Department of Homeland Security’s lists of good practices for handling an active shooter situation.

  1. Be aware of your environment and any possible dangers
  2. Always take note of the two nearest exits
  3. If you are in an office, stay there and secure the door
  4. If you are in a hallway, get into a room and secure the door
  5. As a last resort, attempt to take the active shooter down. When the shooter is at close range and you cannot flee, your chance of survival is much greater if you try to incapacitate him/her
  6. When safe, call 911

Additionally, facility managers play an important role in planning for emergency situations. Having and executing an effective plan will help mitigate the likelihood of disorder or confusion in emergency situations. According to the aforementioned website, facility managers should:

  1. Institute access controls (i.e., keys, security system pass codes)
  2. Distribute critical items to appropriate managers / employees, including: floor plans, keys, facility personnel lists and telephone numbers
  3. Coordinate with the facility’s security department to ensure the physical security of the location
  4. Assemble crisis kits containing: radios, floor plans, staff roster, and staff emergency contact numbers, first aid kits and flashlights
  5. Place removable floor plans near entrances and exits for emergency responders
  6. Activate the emergency notification system when an emergency situation occurs

A good plan should incorporate input from different departments including Security and Safety, Human Resources and Facilities Managers. For more information on what to do in emergency situations check out the DOHS website at https://www.dhs.gov/xlibrary/assets/active_shooter_booklet.pdf, or contact Vanguard Resources at (210) 495-1950 or toll-free at 1 (800) 211-8848.