Preparing for an active shooter incident is a topic that many of us in early childhood education never imagined having to discuss, much less attend a training on. However, as these incidents in the United States have become more frequent, we are increasingly being asked by parents, staff, and regulators to prepare plans, conduct drills, and host training sessions to ensure that providers and children are prepared for such an occurrence.
What would you do if an event like this happened tomorrow? Would you know what to do? Would your colleagues know what to do? We know this is complicated, let us put the pieces together for you.
In examining recent mass shooting incidents, 70% have occurred either at a school or at a business. We must begin to think about where we work, what threats we face and how we would respond if one of these incidents did occur.
For early childhood professionals, this task is even more complex, as we must not only consider how best to protect ourselves but also how best to protect the children in our care.
Practice really does make perfect - and the time to develop and practice our active shooter plan is now. Much like we do not want to learn how to use a fire extinguisher while the building is on fire, we also do not want to be creating our active shooter plans and policies when an event is occurring.
Planning for an active shooter event is a complex process. Examining your existing policies and current emergency procedures is a start, but we also must think about our communications strategy, how best to increase safety/security of our facilities and how to ensure that all staff knows the plan and expectations of them during one of these incidents.
Luckily, there is help out there!
The Institute for Childhood Preparedness helps early childhood programs and providers prepare, respond, and recover from emergencies and disasters. We are the only organization providing training specifically designed for early childhood professionals and those caring for infants, toddlers, and children. The Institute’s training team is made up of award-winning first responders with decades of real-world experience who are solely focused on preparing early childhood professionals and programs. Over the past three years, we have personally provided active shooter preparedness training to over 10,000 early childhood professionals across 15 states and 9 Tribal Nations. These trainings are truly designed for early childhood, by early childhood!
What an Active Shooter Preparedness Training Session Entails
During an active shooter preparedness training from the Institute for Childhood Preparedness participants will learn evidence-based techniques and strategies on how best to prepare for and respond to an active shooter incident. The course will also provide information on how best to conduct drills, develop a customized plan and work together to ensure staff, teachers, and children are best prepared.
The course will also feature a hands-on portion, where the tools and techniques discussed in the class will be put to use. *Note: our active shooter preparedness training courses are specifically designed to prepare, not scare - no live or simulated ammunition will be used in this training. Practical and hands-on exercises are conducted in a calm environment, designed to ensure that all participants learn and can practice these vital techniques.
In our world of ever-evolving threats, it is important to learn as much as we can about these topics. Not only does our safety depend upon it, but so does the safety of the children we are entrusted to care for.
Andrew Roszak is the Executive Director of The Institute For Childhood Preparedness. He founded the Institute to empower early childhood professionals with resiliency and preparation. Andrew’s work has been recognized by FEMA, and he was recently awarded as a Sesame Street Hero.
Register for an Active Shooter Training Event near you: