It’s terrifies me to think about my children being in a situation like the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, South Florida and this morning while watching the news with my boys I cried after watching and listening to the terror students and school staff went through during the shooting that lasted almost an hour and left 17 people dead and my boys asked me, “Mom what should we do if there’s a shooting at our school?” besides say hide! I didn’t really know what to say so I did some research and interviews and here are 11 Ways To Teach Your Kids To Survive a School Shooting
1 Teach your kids these 3 steps: run, hide, fight.
“The main thing is for the kids to easily remember what to do in case of a shooting“, says Michael Zapata, Crime Expert. “Run means RUN! evacuate. Hide means find shelter and if you have to Fight, you FIGHT to save your life.” We have to explain our kids that these 3 steps are not necessarily intended to be done in order, it all depends of the situation, “Tell him/her that hi might have to find a hiding place first that is out of the visibility of the shooter and than run for example.”
2. Run in a zig-zag.
Running in zigzag it’s the number one way to increase your chances of surviving. “A moving target is far more difficult to shoot than a stationary one,” says Mark Sanders, a retired Navy Seal. He recommends, running to something that could shield you from oncoming gunfire, such as concrete pillars or behind a sink counter, “Run in a zigzag motion as fast as you can and get yourself out of sight. Hide and look for something else that could provide cover, until you’re safe , hopefully out of the building.” says Sanders
3. Hide behind something concrete.
Telling kids to hide is not enough, we must tell them where to hide and avoid such as, behind things made of plastic or wood doors “If you can hide look for things that stop bullets, such as trees, concrete pillars and big concrete planters,” says Sanders. If you’re hide behind vehicles such as a school bus, but hide on the engine end, not on the trunk end because bullets can rip right through that trunk and still hit you, but the engine is going to stop it.
4. Get out of sight!
That’s the main thing we should tell our kids, GET OUT OF SIGHT! Hide somewhere, if your only option are the curtains, hide! If you’re in a classroom and you can barricade the door for extra safety. “If there’s time, tell your kids to tell their classmates to, ‘Guys let’s just slide this over’, such as cabinets, desks, this way, hopefully the shooter is going to give it some effort for a couple of minutes and then he’s going to say ‘Forget it’ and move on.” says Sanders.
5. When hiding, stay on hands and knees.
When we hear shots being fired, our first reaction is to drop down and hide, but according to Sanders, we’re making one huge mistake, “When dropping down to hide during a shooting, never put any vital organs against the floor. If a bullet comes flying and bounce on floor, it’s better to get your hands, knee or wrist hit. If you put your lungs, heart or head right against the ground, you might get a ricochet bullet passing through your body.” says Sanders.
6. Avoid the bathroom
Tell the kids that if they can, to avoid hiding in the bathroom or any other spaces such as conference rooms , “Avoid confined spaces,” says Zapata. “Bathrooms for example, most of the time don’t have windows and there’s nothing in there that’s going to stop a bullet.” Zapata says to also, stay out of doorways.
7.If you see something, say something.
“Our biggest mistake is not being aware of our surroundings to notice something out of the ordinary or not normal,” says Zapata. We must tell our kids to tell the teacher or school staff if they see anything suspicious, something out of place, also not to open locked doors in school, no matter how nice the person asking to get in may seem, even if it’s a student.
8. Make sure your child understands school protocol.
Some schools have implemented active shooter training for teachers and practice “lockdown” drills several times throughout the school year. “As parents we should know what our children’s school practices are, and discuss them at home.” says Zapata.
9. Fight as a group.
This tip is more for teens and adults who in some cases can fight the shooter and even though Zapata says It’s risky, he points out, “It’s probably the shooter’s first time in this situation taking people’s lives so he might be nervous and he’s not an experienced shooter.” Zapata encourages fighting as a group, “Call out a few people and make a quick plan, something like, ‘If he comes in, I’ll go for the weapon, you go for the legs etc..‘” Zapata says, primary is to get the weapon out of the killer’s hands, so get it and throw it far away, while others go for spine, the hips and the head, which will control the rest of the body.
10. A fire extinguisher could be a weapon
This is another tip for teens and adults. Get creative when you’re fighting for your life, look for weapons? For example, fire extinguishers are everywhere, “You can hit somebody over the head with it, or put chemicals in their eyes. “
11. Keep calm
I know this might be extremely difficult, but we must teach our children to keep calm in a situation and to avoid drawing unnecessary attention from the shooter. “Calm is just as contagious as panic. If you panic, others will panic,” says Zapata. Stay calm, calculate and work as a team. Zapata says, there’s always something you can be doing to increase your security, safety and lifespan when you’re in this type of situation.
This is the eighth shooting to have resulted in death or injury during the first seven weeks of the year. Since the Columbine shooting in 1999 there has been 25 fatal school shootings at elementary and high school schools in the U.S. Congress has refused to tighten restrictions on gun ownership, even after 20 children and six educators were massacred in 2012 in Sandy Hook elementary school in Connecticut.