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How to Prepare Classrooms for School Shootings

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With school shootings showing no signs of decline, it is important to have tough conversations about how to prepare our schools for the unthinkable event.

While teenagers, parents, and people all over the United States are mobilizing by fighting for more gun control, it is essential for teachers and school administrators to be proactive about protecting students from future school shootings.

Every day students arrive at schools where teachers have a prepared lesson plan. These lesson plans provide direction so that schools can ensure every student is able to achieve their goals. Without lesson plans, unpredictable events can occur in classrooms. This often holds classes back. The more prepared a teacher is, the more effective their teaching will be.

In addition to lesson plans, students must have the necessary relevant supplies to support what they are learning. That includes textbooks, notebooks, paper, pencils, pens, art supplies, computers, calculators, lab equipment, and much more. Students who lack the necessary school supplies are severely held back.  

Without prepared lesson plans and school supplies, the chance of a successful classroom is low. School emergencies are no different.

Every school in America has prepared emergency plans that students practice at least once a year.

These plans are key for successful responses to the various emergencies and disasters that occur throughout the country. However, a school-wide emergency plan on its own is not enough.

For the case of school shootings, each classroom needs to have its own emergency plan and the right emergency supplies for each staff member and student.

Every classroom must have adequate emergency kits and supplies to support their students and staff.

LifeSecure is a leading supplier of school emergency kits. We have helped thousands of schools across America to prepare for emergency disasters.

As we work to help make “Every Life Secure”, we encourage school administrators to:

  1. Plan and practice for active shooters by developing a classroom lockdown plan and conducting classroom lockdown drills.
  2. Ensure that classrooms have adequate emergency supplies to meet the needs of every student and staff member in the event of a school shooting.

How to Survive a School Shooting with a Classroom Lockdown Plan

Classroom lockdown plans and drills help ensure that students and staff are ready to respond appropriately to an active shooter, act of violence, or any other scenario where safety requires staying in place.

These drills are the basis for ensuring that staff, teachers, and students are ready to put emergency plans into action in the event of a school shooting. The following procedures should be taken when there is an active shooter inside your school building:

  • Never use codes, make the announcement direct. For example: “lockdown with intruder inside the building”. Codes can create confusion, and if the shoot is a student or former student, they will likely already know the code.
  • Direct all students who are in hallways or open spaces into a classroom.
  • Lock all the classroom doors.
  • If the intruder is outside the building, lock all the exterior doors. If the intruder is inside the building, do not lock them.
  • Make sure that all the students move away from any windows and doors.
  • Have every student sit on the floor and turn the lights off.
  • Take attendance and keep a list of any extra or missing students from the classroom, keep this list with you during the evacuation.
  • Do not respond to anyone until an announcement saying it is “all clear” has been made by an authority figure.

Prepare with School Emergency Kits

As with any major emergency or disaster, school emergency response resources may be stretched in event of an active shooter.

Schools and individual classrooms may need to rely not only on their own planning and previous drills but also on their own emergency supplies. The U.S. government recommends that every institution have sufficient survival supplies for up to 72 hours after a major emergency.

School emergency kits or classroom lockdown kits provide the tools needed to survive any emergency lockdown situation.

Each classroom should have their own school emergency kit, which includes emergency instructions, medical first aid, a gunshot wound kit, search and rescue supplies and tools, water [5-year shelf life], and items that supply warmth, shelter, communication, light, and sanitation.

Here is a list of what we recommend including in-classroom lockdown kits:

For search and rescue:

  • A pair of leather palmed work gloves
  • A pair of safety goggles
  • A pry bar

For minor medical situations:

  • First aid kit
  • Emergency thermal blankets to treat shock
  • Vinyl gloves
  • Sanitary towelettes
  • Hand sanitizer

For hydration:

  • Emergency drinking water pouches

For communication and light:

  • Whistle with lanyard
  • AM/FM radio with extra batteries
  • Flashlight with extra batteries
  • 12-hour light sticks

For the safety manager/teacher:

  • Emergency instruction sheet
  • Clipboard
  • Writing tablet
  • Pens
  • Tamper-evident breakaway closure ties

For excessive bleeding and major wounds, we recommend investing in a gunshot wound kit:

  • Blue Nitrile Gloves
  • EMT Scissors
  • QuickClot Hemostatic GAUZE
  • Gauze pads
  • Blood Stopper bandage
  • Self-adherent wrap
  • SWAT-T tourniquet
  • Permanent Marker
  • Petroleum Gauze
  • Tape
  • Moist Towelettes
  • Biohazard Bag
author avatar
David Scott
David Scott
David co-founded LifeSecure in 2005, just a few months before Hurricane Katrina taught everyone that one can go hungry and thirsty in America and even die before help arrives. For over a decade David has focused on developing and discovering superior emergency and disaster survival solutions - kits and supplies. He has trained community groups in emergency preparedness, helped non-profit organizations prepare emergency kits for needy individuals, conducted community emergency response exercises, and developed emergency plans for non-profit organizations. David makes an ongoing study of how best to prepare for and respond to various natural and man-made disasters, and his mission has been to help others “live Life SECURE” every day by preparing for what may come someday.