4 Things Teachers Need to Know to Be Effective in an Active Shooter Situation

Posted by Chad Ayers on May 17, 2019 8:00:00 AM
Chad Ayers

TeacherA school shooting — It's every teacher's worst nightmare. Yet, school shootings have become so common that teachers cannot help but wonder how they might respond if such an event occurred at their school.

But wondering about your response does no good when nightmares become reality. It's critical that schools plan for active shooter events with urgency, training teachers and staff to respond effectively.

A lot of training goes into an effective response, but there are 4 basic things teachers should know in order to be prepared for an active shooter event. 

Your role

In an active shooter situation, a teacher's primary response should be to protect students. Even though the entire school, including students, have gone through active shooter training sessions and drills, these drills were most likely conducted under the assumption that teachers should respond on behalf of their students.

Certainly, there is strength in numbers, and the goal in an active shooter situation is to ensure everyone's survival. However, if someone is going to assume the role of rushing the shooter or attempting to obtain the weapon, it should be a trained teacher or staff member. That's where practical skills such as disarming a gunman are invaluable. Disarming is a skill that can easily be learned if taught by and practiced with a professional instructor. 

Your school's floor plan

If an active shooter is inside your school, you must make the decision to either get out or barricade and fortify your classroom. Regardless of which action you take, it's important for you to know the floor plan of the school extremely well — so well that you could give clear verbal directions to and from anywhere in the school if necessary. Active shooter events are chaotic and unpredictable, and there are a variety of scenarios where having the ability to give accurate directions could be a lifesaving skill.

Another thing to keep in mind is that hiding is not the same as barricading and fortifying. Hiding makes you a sitting duck. A barricade serves as protection between you and the shooter. For a quick breakdown of how to respond in an active shooter situation, check out our quick reference guide for teachers.

How to stop bleeding

Know where the kit is and how to use the items inside. Every classroom in a school should have a Bleeding Control Kit on hand. If yours doesn't, do your part to implement a policy and effect this change. Even if the classroom next to yours has a kit, there's a strong possibility that you wouldn't be able to safely get to and from that classroom in the middle of an active shooting. Not to mention, a person can bleed out in just 2-4 minutes, so every second counts.

For more tips and information on bleeding control, check out these articles:

How to improvise

You already know active shooter situations are unpredictable, but we cannot let unpredictability keep us from responding. That's why it's so important to be able to improvise. Maybe you have one tourniquet, but there are two victims with severe bleeding. Someone who's willing to improvise will not ask the question, "Which victim will I treat?" but rather, "What can I use to make a second tourniquet?" Improvising  in this case, using what you have on hand to create a makeshift tourniquet — could save a life.

When it comes to self defense weapons, improvising could again save your life and others. In a school setting, it's unlikely that you will have access to traditional weapons, but that doesn't mean you're powerless. There are no doubt various items around your classroom and throughout your school that you could use to defend yourself. You just have to be willing and ready to improvise.

The ability to improvise is just one of the many skills ProActive Response Group teaches in their Active Shooter Training Classes. To learn more about these courses for you school, contact us today at (888) 512-3530, or click on the banner below to leave us a message online.

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Topics: Schools