Experts Teaching Hands-on Mass Shooting Responses

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With mass shootings becoming more deadly, some school systems, concert venues and private companies are increasingly using a more hands-on approach, the Wall Street Journal reports. Courses offered by private companies go beyond the “run, hide, fight” approach that the federal government has recommended since the 2012 Sandy Hook school shooting in Connecticut. The active-survival classes commonly teach how to build barricades, break through windows, create distractions and care for the wounded. The FBI says there have been 250 events involving active shooters—defined as an armed person trying to kill people in a populated area—in the U.S. between 2000 and 2017. In 2017, there were more active-shooter incidents than any year since 2000, killing 138 people, the most of any year on record. The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools system updated its security plan after the 2018 Parkland, Fl., high school shooting and is beginning to offer training that emphasizes “avoid, barricade, counter, survive,” or ABCS. “What we’ve done for so long is encourage everyone to stay in place,” said Tracy Russ, a Charlotte schools spokesman. “It is an adjustment.”

A new Florida law requires school districts to conduct active-shooter training drills as often as other types of drills. A recent report from a panel that investigated the shooting at Parkland’s Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School said classrooms should have designated “hard corners,” or areas where students are better protected from gunshots.  “There is a national acceptance that there is the potential for people coming into contact with violent individuals at any given moment, time or location,” said Greg Crane of the ALICE Training Institute, which teaches workers to “alert, lockdown, inform, counter, evacuate.” Most active-shooting events last about five minutes. That’s also the average time it takes for the first law-enforcement officers to arrive. “Can you survive for five minutes?” one trainer asked a class. “That’s the goal.”

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