CLEVELAND, Oct. 2, 2015 – Following the Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon, shooting deaths on Thursday, many parents are asking how they can protect their children.
According to the New York Post, nine people died and several were wounded in the attack.
Your children may be frightened, anxious and alarmed as they watch the continuous television and social media headlines or if they read stories about the murders at the Umpqua Community College.
Consider these important steps and tips to prepare your child on how to survive a school shooting crisis.
Most schools in America have adopted a school safety plan that is age appropriate. Contact the school and see if it is on the school’s website or obtain a hard copy. Be calm as you discuss the safety plan with your children when discussing how to stay safe during an emergency.
You may want to approach the subject by creating a list of concerns that your child has brought up and address those concerns honestly and age appropriately. Have answers to their questions by setting a time to talk about the safety plan as well as issues and concerns that they may have.
This will reduce emotion and alarm or confusion and uncertainty.
It is always good to remind your children that as a parent you are going to keep them safe and that their teachers, principal and school administration are regularly working together on steps to prevent tragic occurrences like the Oregon shooting.
Let them know that this talk is similar to other school safety drill talks you may have already had that deal with fire and weather emergency drills.
Several School Safety Steps
Before there is an active shooter situation in your child’s school it is crucial that the child is able to distinguish what gunshots actually sound like. According to the Prepper Journal, the best way to familiarize children to recognizing the sound of a gunshot is to take them to a firing range. “They also get to know the sounds a firearm makes. Even if you don’t like or believe in guns, that exposure could be something that saves their lives.”
So when do we tell our children to run or to go to school lockdown room?
Keeping your child safe and alive is a challenge that parents need to be realistic about when deciding whether your child should run to an exit door or go to a school lockdown room. An expert at the Buckeye Firearms Association strongly insists, “escaping the school is the best option for individual students in a school shooting situation.” He stressed, “Virtually all students who get out of the school (even if they have already been shot) survive.”
If your children are unable to run to a nearby exit, then make certain that they understand and can follow these tips:
- Know the room number the children are hiding in so that the police will know how to find them.
- Make certain that they have paper and pen, magic marker or some other writing tool to create a silent note to communicate with first responders or school security officials.
- Keep a cell phone on but turn the phone ringer off, so that the shooter is not alerted.
- Shove chairs, desks, chairs and other classroom furniture in front of the door to prevent a shooter’s entry into the room.
- Tell the child the importance of hiding behind bookshelves, concrete posts or large appliances if they are stuck in the school cafeteria. Do not hide under a table, behind a glass case or even under a teacher’s desk, according to Preppers Journal.
The best way to prepare for a school shooter scenario is to be certain your children’s school has a current school shooter safety survival plan and that regular safety drills are scheduled and held.
In the case of your children’s school safety ignorance is not bliss and can certainly lead to a most unfortunate end. Be informed for their sake.