During different eras of time in our public school system, our schools have created different safety drills that seemed needed based on the perceived threats of the time. In the 1950s, school children were taught to ‘duck and cover’ under their desks to protect themselves from potential nuclear attacks. It may seem silly to us now, but at the time, they seemed necessary.
Other safety drills still exist at this time. Public schools still hold fire drills, and in the Midwest, schools hold tornado drills. They are commonplace, and no one questions the need for such safety precautions. Schools on our west coast have earthquake drills, and schools in our southeast have hurricane drills. However, a new type of safety drill started to emerge in the late 1990s: The Intruder Drill.
These Intruder Drills started out with basic precautions of teachers locking their classroom doors, turning off the classroom lights and moving all students to an area of the classroom where they were not seen through windows and were down on the floor. At first, some schools tried to use codes over the intercom to not alarm the students, but junior high school and high school students were not fooled. Administrators finally figured out that letting the students know that the drills are happening and why, created a reaction that was much more open and students accepted the new safety precaution as part of going to school in this day and time.
However, now school staff members are being trained on how to deal with the aftermath of a tragedy before medical staff are able to enter the school building. Recently, such training was held in Liberty Public Schools. The company, Strategos International, had already been scheduled to come to the Liberty School District to train its staff before the incident at Sandy Hook, but the Newtown tragedy certainly opened the eyes of all staff members as to how important and how needed this training is (KMBC 1). “’It’s very hard. I can picture kids I would need to take care of, and I can imagine what I would need to do to take care of those kids in those scenarios in the buildings and where I would go. It’s very scary,’ said Shoal Creek Elementary nurse Kristin Redmond” (KMBC 1).
Todd Burke of Strategos International stated that before Sandy Hook, the company would receive two to three phone calls per day. Now, the company is fielding two to three dozen phone calls and over 100 emails asking about their training sessions and other questions. He shared sadness at the reason for the influx of the number of contacts, but he explains the need for school staff members to know how to take care of injured victims (KMBC 1). Medical crews are trained to not enter a scene until all the danger is cleared; however, that leaves injured victims without medical help until the situation is diffused. This company trains school staff members how to, “control bleeding from a gunshot wound to how to move someone out of harm’s way fast” (KMBC 2).
Some may wax poetic about the ‘good old days’, but this is training that is currently needed and much more effective than ‘duck and cover’.
“School Staffs Learn How to React in Mass Shootings; Training Company’s Business Surges after Sandy Hook.” www.kmbc.com February 8, 2013.