Many times the unpredictable nature of intruder events actually works to limit the amount of planning and training schools and businesses do to prepare their staff and students. The argument is "there are so many possibilities, we can't train for them all, so why do that much." It is true that there are many possibilities. Unlike fire where the main variables are where did it start and what is burning, intruder events have many more possible variables such as the point of entry, type of weapon, what/who is the target, time of day of the intrusion, activities taking place at that time (assembly, lunch hour, etc.) and the list goes on. But the tragedy in Townville, South Carolina serves as a reminder that training - even for unpredictable situations - is paramount to saving lives.
The intruder crashed a vehicle through the playground fence, shot at people on the playground and was heading toward the school building. According to Jason Russell, President & CEO of Secure Education Consulting, "In the case of Townville Elementary, teachers performed a reverse evacuation, getting students inside as quickly as possible. The volunteer firefighter tackled and restrained the shooter before he could follow everyone indoors." Although not confirmed, it is unlikely that the school ever trained for this scenario or even a "reverse evacuation." Many lives were saved that day because the school did exactly what it needed to do - plan and practice. Mr. Russell - "Training and muscle memory clearly kicked in for both the teachers and the first responders, who quickly assessed the situation and chose the best options available to them." (Click here for the rest of Mr. Russell's article.)
We all need to be reminded that planning and training are absolutely necessary for emergency preparedness for all of our gathering spaces - schools, businesses, libraries, etc. The complexity of an intruder event may seem daunting to those developing the plans, but, instead of leading to delay or discouragement, we need to use it as a motivator to keep training as best we can. As in the Townville tragedy, that training may not have unfolded as practiced, but it was applied to the situation and definitely saved lives that day.
BluePoint's Rapid Emergency Response System is designed to automate the 2 most important actions in an intruder event: contact police and warn building occupants. Our intuitive and easy to use wearable device can be used indoors as well as outdoors - on athletic fields, in parking lots or on the playground. With the push of a button, police are immediately notified to speed their response and everyone in the building or immediately outside the building are alerted to take precautions. Our solution goes hand-in-hand with proper planning and training.