As I write this article, it really hits home for me. I have a vested interest in protecting our kids, as I have two in local schools. With all the active shooter incidents we have witnessed on the evening news, it’s scary as hell to keep sending them off to school hoping that nothing happens. When I drop them off in the mornings and say “I love you”, I can’t help but think that may be the last time I get to say those words to them. Anymore it’s just as scary for the parents as it is for the students. So what can we do to increase the survivability of our kids while they are at school?
For starters, I’ve personally added the following items to my kid’s backpacks.
Level 3a soft armor insert. This insert will fit into almost any backpack. You can either slip it into the laptop sleeve of the backpack or just slide it in behind all the textbooks and notebooks. The level 3a soft armor will stop almost all handgun rounds. Add that to the other books and notebooks inside the pack and you’ve got yourself a pretty solid shield to protect yourself with. Granted this will not stop rifle rounds, but it does add another layer of protection and peace of mind. My high school daughter carries one inside her backpack throughout the day.
Dark Angel Medical Mini Trauma Kit. The caveat to this is that neither of my daughters is trained on using this kit. The purpose of them having this kit inside their backpack is that if something does go terribly wrong at school, they can hand this kit to a teacher or police officer to administer to them or other students that may need medical attention before first responders are onsite. When seconds count, first responders are minutes away. This mini trauma kit contains a SWAT-T Tourniquet, Quikclot bleeding control gauze, gloves and 2′ of duct tape.
Glass breaking pen. Again this stays inside their bag until needed. Most teachers in my daughters’ school have a means of breaking the windows so that the students can get out and run to safety. If for whatever reason they don’t, my daughters can hand this to the teacher to break the glass.
These above three items help give me a little peace of mind when I send them off to school and also gives them a sense of security and confidence if something were to happen.
I’m not going to get into the debate of teachers carrying firearms, but I will say this. All teachers should be trained in the use and application of tourniquets and bleeding control gauze. Every classroom should have one tourniquet per student along with a trauma kit for the classroom. Schools could also offer some basic EMT type courses as an elective in order to better prepare the students. Having the students schooled in basic trauma medicine would reap massive benefits. It not only educates them on trauma medicine, but it empowers them to help people outside of school and possibly guide them into that career field. Having a single Police Resource Officer onsite is good, but that one officer cannot address all the medical needs if he is dealing with the shooter and communicating with the responding police and EMS units.
The United States Secret Service recently released a document titled Mass Attacks in Public Spaces – 2017. Within that document, they talked about the timing of the attacks. Here is what they said.
“The attacks took place throughout the year and occurred on every day of the week. Over half (n = 17, 61%) took place between the hours of 7:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. For half (n = 14, 50%), the violence ended within 5 minutes from when the first shot was fired or first person was harmed.”
Seconds count when first responders are minutes away. The above statement reiterates the importance of addressing medical needs before first responders are on the scene. By equipping teachers and faculty with the knowledge and tools to save lives, will reap massive benefits if a violent situation presents itself.
I applaud what the local school system in my area has done regarding student safety. They have implemented specific drills and practice them. Teachers have the ability to break outside facing windows as a means of escape, and they also have specific actions to take in the event a shooter breaches the room, which I will not discuss here for the sake of security.
If you are a student, parent or teacher I would like to hear your thoughts on this.
*Featured photo courtesy of AP Images
**Article photos courtesy of the author