Shootings have become more frequent recently which is a great cause of concern for many people, especially parents who see their children off to school every day and are not able to be near them 24/7.
Preparing your children for the worst and teaching them how to react in dangerous situations may potentially save their lives.
The Importance of Preparation
In nature, danger either generates a flight or fight response. A majority of the time though, an unexpected situation can cause you to freeze, a deer in headlights as the saying goes. Understanding this common response is why preparing your children for moments like these are crucial to their safety.
As time goes back into motion for a person caught off guard, the brain takes over to assess the situation and what appropriate action to take. However, this cognitive appraisal takes time; time that your child cannot afford to waste.
Preparing emergency plans and reinforcing them frequently greatly speeds up this process, allowing your children to act without hesitation and reducing their exposure to potential harm.
Communicate With Your Children
It is important to educate your child about the grave nature of mass shootings so that they understand that active shooter situations are something to be taken extremely seriously.
Do not attempt to make light of or brush off any fear they might have but teach them how to plan around it so they can act with certainty if such a situation arises.
Run, Hide, Fight
If your children find themselves in an active shooter situation, teach them “Run, Hide, Fight” as it reinforces the three main actions your child should take.
They should always prioritize distancing themselves as far from the threat as possible and escape the area. If there are no viable escape routes, they should hide or conceal themselves in a manner where the gunman will be unable to find or enter where they are located.
If they are in close proximity to the gunman with no escape route or place to hide, they need to defend themselves (see below).
Teaching your children to assess the situation and properly deciding which of the three actions to take is vital to ensuring they risk as little danger as possible.
Know When and Where to Run and Hide
Having your child learn all the available exits in the areas they frequent whether in school or away from home will allow them to quickly make their way to safety should something happen. They should also understand that these exits are only to be used when they are certain they can get there without risking danger and potential hiding places as well in case they are unable to get away.
Running in a straight line as quickly as possible towards the exit provides the highest chance of safety. They should not attempt to play dead as gunmen have been documented returning to previous areas and shooting downed bodies.
In the event the gunman fires a weapon at your children, forcing them to drop to the floor, they should attempt to stay on their hands and knees, keeping their body slightly elevated as bullets can also ricochet off the floor.
If they are being pursued and have no practical cover to hide behind, it may be effective to move in a zig-zag pattern, taking sharp, random turns, until they are able to seize the first chance at escape.
If they are unable to run away, they should find an obscure location that they will be able to barricade, such as a small room where they can lock the door and then block with furniture. Other less ideal but viable locations include closets or lockers.
Regardless of how they do it, they should always prioritize distancing themselves as far from danger as quickly as possible.
What to Do After Escaping or While Hiding
After your children have managed to escape or have found a suitable location to barricade and hide, they should never attempt to go back or leave safety for any personal belongings, no matter how valuable they may be.
If they happen to have a cell phone while hiding, call 911 but only if they are certain it is safe. When speaking to a dispatcher, briefly explain the situation and do not hang up so that they will be able to keep track of any developments.
If they are hiding and it is unsafe, just dial 911 and leave the line on for the dispatcher to listen.
When Fighting An Attacker
If fleeing or hiding are not feasible options, your child will have to defend themselves. The first option is to throw any objects nearby at the gunman while heading for an exit. If there is nothing to throw and there are absolutely no options left, your child will need to physically attack the gunman.
Do not hold back at all and aim for weak areas such as the groin, neck, and eyes. As soon as the gunman is either disarmed or incapacitated, escape as quickly as possible.
Consider Investing in Protective Backpacks and Gear
No matter how prepared your children are in situations like these, you will always be concerned for the safety of your children.
Bulletproof Backpacks and Backpack Panels can provide an added layer of security and relief knowing that no matter what happens, your children will have something they can use to protect themselves. Keep in mind that these items are not perfect and can only provide protection to a certain extent.
Also, it is important to know about the various armor options you can equip you or your children with.
Hard armor plates offer much more protection (up to rifle rounds) but at the tradeoff of also being much heavier as they can weigh 8 lbs. or more. Soft armor plates offer less protection (handgun rounds), but they are much lighter (often less than 2 lbs.) and are usually recommended for younger children.
However, no matter how much protection your children may or may not have with them, please reinforce the utmost importance of first escaping, and keeping themselves as far away from danger as possible.For more information on Bulletproof Backpacks and Backpack Panels, you can refer to our articles Should You Buy a Bulletproof Backpack or Bulletproof Backpack Armor? and What Kind of Bulletproof Backpack or Backpack Armor Should I Buy?