Best Options for Active Shooter Mitigation in Schools
While many school administrators have been focused on increasing safety around covid protocols with desk shields and other forms of protection this school year, we shouldn’t forget that active shooter incidents are still a very real threat. Gun violence on school campuses decreased in 2020 simply because most students weren’t in school, not because the violence itself has gone away.
With students heading back to school, administrators should be aware of all potential dangers for teachers and students and focus on ways to improve overall safety. Active shooter situations tend to be unpredictable and evolve quickly. Fortunately, when it comes to active shooter protection for schools, there are a number of ways to increase safety and help save lives during times of imminent danger.
Active Shooter Prevention
According to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, “active shooter situations are usually over within 10 to fifteen minutes.” That’s generally how long law enforcement’s active shooter response takes. By then, local law enforcement has arrived on the scene and is able to subdue the shooter.
This means that any security enhancements should focus on slowing the shooter down or preventing them from gaining access at all so students and teachers have time to find a place to hide or seek shelter in a less populated area.
Active Shooter Protocol for Schools
Having a set active shooter protocol allows teachers, students, and administrators to be fully prepared in the case of an active shooter situation.
1. Closed Campus Policy
The main entrance to a school is typically where active shooters will make their attempt at gaining entry. This means doors should be locked during school hours. Security cameras and an alarm system should be installed to keep intruders out. Visitors should be limited and anyone new to the campus should be screened before entering.
2. Conduct a Site Assessment
Examine the school grounds to identify weaknesses in security defenses. This might include things like unlocked doors, broken fences/gates, or line of sight issues with security cameras.
Ensure that there are at least two evacuation routes for students and staff to escape the building. These evacuation routes should also be placed conspicuously throughout the school. Additionally, practice drills help to prepare students and teachers for the potential threat of an active shooter.
4. Train Staff
Teachers and other school staff should be trained to recognize potential security threats and how to handle active shooter events. Active shooter drills are a great way to practice with students in a real-life setting. Additionally, the Department of Homeland Security provides a number of training courses and videos for active shooter school situations.
5. Reinforce Window & Door Glass
With most schools instituting closed campus policies, shooters tend to focus on entering through door or window glass on the first floor of the building. This is the easiest way for them to gain entry beyond simply walking through the front doors. Fortunately, there are options for reinforcing window and door glass:
Security Window Films: These films are made up of multiple layers of plastics that are tear resistant and make windows much harder to breach. While they aren’t “bulletproof”, they do prevent the window from shattering which may slow the shooter from gaining forced entry. These films can be applied to the existing window and door glass, providing an affordable solution.
Polycarbonate Security Shields: The best way to protect students and staff from active shooters is to install bullet-resistant polycarbonate shields, like BulletShield. These panels are installed over existing glazing and are specifically engineered to protect those inside from ballistic threats. In active shooter situations, BulletShield flexes with the impact of the bullet, keeping the glass intact and preventing the shooter from entering the building. It is independently tested to provide UL 752 ballistic ratings, preventing breaches against threats like 9MM, .44 Magnum, and AR-15 bullets.
Enhance Safety at your School with Active Shooter Protection
Following this active shooter protocol for schools can prevent attacks and keep students safe from dangerous situations. At DefenseLite, we care deeply about school security solutions and will do everything we can to assist you in enhancing your school’s safety. If you’re interested in reinforced security doors & windows for schools, don’t hesitate to contact us by completing the form below, or calling us at 888-689-5502.