COLUMBUS- Two local Ohio school superintendents were among educators from around the state who attended the first of five regional training events in Columbus in response to school shooting situations.
Martins Ferry Schools Superintendent Dirk Fitch said he welcomed the training opportunity that offered insight into the issue of school safety.
"(The training) was very informative and very eye-opening. A lot of times when people see red flags, there is a lack of communication between the school facility, a mental (health) agency, parents and law enforcement and when they don't communicate there might be a problem. That was a big part of the issues discussed yesterday," Fitch said.
Instructor James Burke of the Ohio Peace Officer Training Academy speaks at an event to train educators and law enforcement officers about school shooting responses in Columbus, Ohio, on Thursday.
"They spent a great deal of time explaining the different phases of planning these deeds and carrying them out. What was surprising is the amount of time that a shooter will put into planning for these actions, but the average time of these incidents is seven minutes. So we are preparing to hold on as long as we can before first responders get to the situation."
Fitch said the first thing he wanted to do when he got back from the training was to check out his district's plans.
"The city of Martins Ferry, between the fire station, police, the sheriff's office and EMS, we're meeting with all three schools and we're working so everyone is on the same page," Fitch commented. "We're updating our active shooter and all our emergency response plans. We're going to meet at the school and learn the layouts and incorporate some training scenarios, so they'll be able to come up and actually train in our facilities."
- Develop safety plans for responding to
various threats, including an active shooter.
- Test safety plans in a realistic environment with sensory overload to mimic the stress of a real emergency.
- Incorporate law enforcement in training
sessions and drills to ensure educators and police are on the same page.
- Plan gathering spots outside the building and parking lot in case of evacuation.
- Do not ignore troublesome behaviors that could be warning signs of potential violence.
- Communicate information about the threat and its location in plain language and update continuously.
- Quickly determine the most reasonable way to protect lives, such as to run or to hide quietly.
- Secure the immediate area. In lockdown, lock doors and then barricade them.
- Position people behind extra protection, such as walls or desks.
- Silence cell phones and close blinds or block windows.
- Create a plan to fight back using any items on hand if necessary.
- If attacked, do not remain stationary. Use distraction techniques and try to escape or swarm attacker.
- If you seize attacker's weapon, carry it in a trash can or other container to avoid
perception that you are a threat.
Bridgeport Schools Superintendent Ted Downing, who also attended the training, was unavailable for comment this morning.
A state instructor said planning a response and practicing in advance are keys to saving lives.