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Ready or Not. Learning, applying school safety procedures for shootings outside school can help save lives.

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w.altcov3It’s pitch black. The door is barricaded. The students are huddled in a corner, armed with everyday school supplies that double as weapons in times of danger. As a student who has attended Carmel Clay Schools since kindergarten, I believe I am pretty familiar with the protocol that must be taken if an intruder were to enter the school. Although (thankfully) there has not been an incident in my tenure as a student, being aware of the protocol that should be followed is key in protecting the safety of all students.

But there’s a catch: I have only been trained on how to fight back and protect myself in a shooting in the school building. How about the other three-fourths of the day? At home or the movie theater? At a meeting, party or soccer stadium? All three of these locations were home to the recent and tragic shootings at the Planned Parenthood clinics, San Bernardino and Paris. Following these tragic attacks, as a society, we must look to the future in how to better prepare ourselves in case of an attack—especially one outside the school setting.

Although strides have been taken toward finding and solving the underlying cause of the multiple shootings that have plagued our nation, the progress is gradual and until the solution is found, a great amount of lives are at risk. These lives can be saved with mandatory government-sponsored training on what to do in a situation in which an intruder opens fire on an unexpected group of citizens. The education provided would be the same and accessible to all. Citizens should be taught how to act, how to be prepared and how to properly stop the cause of the attack if necessary.

The push towards public education can be seen in the services currently offered by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), which “aims to enhance preparedness through a ‘whole community’ approach by providing training, products, and resources to a broad range of stakeholders on issues such as active shooter awareness, incident response, and workplace violence,” by offering “free courses, materials, and workshops to better prepare you to deal with an active shooter situation and to raise awareness of behaviors that represent pre-incident indicators and characteristics of active shooters.” So, the resources are available for American citizens to indulge upon. The question then becomes, why aren’t citizens taking advantage of this free resource?

Especially as students living in Carmel and attending CHS, we often tend to think that the problems that face our world today—hunger, homelessness, fear or even being placed in a situation that entails a shooting will never affect us personally in any way entirely. But, the truth is that shootings are always a threat in public areas—there is no way to get rid of that risk. Thus, the only way to be ready if this type of situation were presented to us or any of our fellow American citizens is for us to be more educated on safety procedures.

There has also been a steadily growing trend of the number of shootings in the United States, according to a study conducted by the FBI in September of 2013. There have been 160 shootings from 2000 to 2013. Furthermore, during the first seven years the study was conducted, there was an average of 6.4 incidents a year, but that number has risen up to 16.4 incidents annually within the last seven years of the study. This trend helps to re-emphasize the importance of prevention measures that all citizens must take part of in order to truly be prepared.

The study also showcased the severity of the shootings—often being concluded in the matter of minutes. In the 63 incidents in which the duration of the incident could be verified, 70 percent of the incidents ended in five minutes or less with 23 ending in two minutes or less. With such a quick start-to-finish, just one mere action can save lives. But this action cannot be triggered without a foundation to begin with, and that foundation is schooling on the basics of action that should be taken in these situations. Be an advocate for change and encourage mandatory education on how to act in a situation that involves shooting—this could help save countless lives.

The views in this column do not necessarily reflect the views of the HiLite staff. Reach Bethlehem Daniel at [email protected]

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