It’s just like any other day at school.
The afternoon sun beams in through the window, and lands on heads bent over a particularly tricky physics test. Silence is in the air, punctuated here and there by the scribbling sound of pens and pencils.
Then out of nowhere, booming sounds are heard from the corridor. They are followed a second later by blood-curdling screams. And in that second, reality shatters. Completely.
In light of the heart-wrenching carnage that was carried out by a rifle-wielding ex-student of Florida’s Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on February 15, schools all over the country have become vigilant in their goal of protection and prevention. As we speak, the debate on how to ensure school safety and neutralize the carnage rages on.
The following are some of the best preventive measures that can be implemented to reduce the risk of casualties should something like this happen at a school near you.
How can a deranged shooter enter a classroom, let alone the school building? Through the doors, right? As such, doors should definitely be the first major concern of a school’s administration. Instead of the old-fashioned and feeble wooden varieties, steel doors should be considered and properly affixed. Why? Because they are more resistant to breakage. Not only that, the simple key-in-lock should be replaced with smartphone-operated, heavy-duty automated locks, like the ones offered by Vivint security system. With these modifications in place, no shooter can dare charge into a classroom and put the students/teachers at risk.
Gear Up the Classroom
A classroom is an honorable place of learning, where ideas are generated and honed. To taint it with blood is a gruesome crime. In order to avoid such a gnarly situation, basic defenses should be set up inside a classroom to be used in times of need. Examples bulletproof whiteboards to be propped up against the entryway, sturdy bookshelves to act as blockades, fire-extinguishers to temporality blind the assailant(s), and even bulletproof bags to be used as shields.
Utilize the Windows
In case the doors don’t hold for long, what can be the next best evacuate route? Can it be safely taken, given the time and the resources at hand? Is it closer to the ground? What’s the probability of students and the staff making the cut? The school administration should tackle these questions beforehand by making windows an emergency escape option. By providing bendable ladders and knotted ropes to each class, they should educate everyone on how to use them and how to reach the ground through the windows.
Assign Safety Zones
When the regularity and normalcy of a school day is broken by bullets flying around like crazy, there’s bound to be panic all around. And when there’s mass hysteria, then there’s mass carnage. If the students are made aware of proper safety zones in and around the school, then there’s a chance of survival. Instead of fleeing in a chaotic pattern, they’ll head right for the safe zones through preset channels. Thus, a school administration should designate sheltered areas to avoid the shooter, like an underground bunker or a fortified shed on the school grounds.
Install Automated Eyes
If you know what’s coming for you and you can see its trajectory, then you have the advantage of avoiding it. If smart, motion-detecting cameras are installed everywhere around the school in unexposed crannies, the shooter can be traced easily. As the camera feed will go directly to the teachers’ and the principal’s smartphones, they can defend themselves and the students in a much better way.
Enact Scenarios and Hold Drills
Rational and adrenaline-free thinking is absolutely crucial in case of emergency situations. Students and staff should be actively trained as to how a catastrophic situation should be handled best, how calm and composure should be maintained, and how the safety points should be accessed quietly. Escape drills should be held on a regular basis. This will condition a defensive attitude in the student body, so that they will not panic easily.
Coordinate with Authorities
Quick question: when an armed assailant invades the school property and starts shooting people, what do you do? Do you directly engage with the threat? Or do you set up the defense and wait for the authorities to reach you? The second option, obviously, as there’s nothing more tactless than going into the line of fire and endangering everyone in the process. Contacting the relevant authorities should be on top of your priority list.
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