Many active shooter training classes teach you how to best react in an emergency situation. But one training class at Williston’s Missouri Ridge School taught school administrators how to take a proactive approach.
“We have to face the fact that it might happen and we have to do whatever we can to keep our kids safe,” says Carolyn Eide, superintendent for Tioga Public School.
And that desire-to keep kids safe-is what led many school leaders to attend the safety workshop.
“After the event that happened in Florida, we were talking about this as a company, with other school architects in our company and we wanted to make sure we were designing safe schools,” says Sean Sugden, senior architect at EAPC.
The workshop focused on school design measures to slow or prevent perpetrators altogether, such as real-time video surveillance.
A key place to start is the school parking lot, which is likely to be the initial point of arrival for a potential shooter-
before approaching the main door and attempting to gain access.
“If somebody’s trying to get a long gun through an entrance in a case or if they’re even carrying one outwardly, that’s going to be able to be seen before they even get to the building,” says Don Moseman, North Dakota Safety Council training director. .
Other measures include using concrete walls as opposed to dry wall, eliminating areas of elevation where a shooter is more likely to hit targets, and designating many exit points throughout the school.
“400 percent more of a chance of them being safe if they get out of the school. Then we definitely need to take a look at where our exits are,” says Sugden..
Many of the school leaders plan to implement what they’ve learned.
“We’re working on our emergency operating plan right now with the future principal of thos building. And with the information we got from the training, we’ll implement those ideas into our newest EOP,” says Rob Turner, Williston Public School District 8 superintendent.
And though they hope to avoid an active shooter situation altogether, the school leaders are using what they’ve learned to build the best line of defense.
Participating in regular training exercises and knowing how to properly react in an emergency situation are two of the most important things anyone can do to prepare for an active shooter situation.