Teaching Children Active Threat Safety

No parent or guardian of a child or children even wants to think about the possibility of their young ones being subject to an active threat situation, particularly an active shooter situation.  But preparation, training, and practice beforehand may mean the difference between surviving the situation or the horrific alternatives.  INTELLEO shares some ideas and resources on teaching children active threat safety.

From A Parent’s Perspective

Teaching children, particularly young children, how to mentally prepare for and deal with active threats is indeed a sensitive subject.  Parents want to provide their children with this critical information without traumatizing them.  That sensitivity, yet urgency, is delicately approached from a Mom’s perspective at Amotherfarfromhome.com.  The key to the suggestions provided here is to prepare, know your resources, and have a plan before an active threat takes place.  In addition to thoughtful parental input here, there is even a resource for a downloadable Refrigerator Cheat Sheet you may obtain by reviewing the article and submitting your personal e-mail.

Run-Hide-Fight: A Universal Game Plan

Responsible parents and guardians will want to use age-appropriate information and resources to share with their kids in preparation for an active threat situation.  Adults can review, watch and decide, which of these resources best suits their situation.  Two sources that can be easily accessed are provided by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.  Both resources suggest the universal approach recommended by experts across the entire law enforcement spectrum.  In order, they suggest you teach children to first run, then hide, and as a last resort given the specifics of an active threat situation, fight.

Increasingly, and unfortunately, active threat situations involving children take place on the campuses and grounds of both public and private schools.  The suggestions here by World Educational Media, illustrate how critically important it is for today’s parents to familiarize themselves with the emergency and crisis response plans of their local school district and respective school(s) where their children attend.  That familiarization should include parental knowledge of crisis response plans, evacuation procedures, communication and notification practices, the use of student cell phones, traffic control in and out of campus and even actively participating in active-shooter and lockdown drills when and if they are made available to concerned parents.

More parental advice and resources targeted specifically for parents to teach elementary school-age children about dealing with active threats come in an informative storybook approach developed by children’s author Julia Cook and the Alice Training Institute.  Entitled, “I’m Not Scared…I’m Prepared,” this resource shows, in story-telling format with graphics, how important it is for kids in the elementary grades to:

*Listen to their teachers in the event of an active threat situation.

*Help teachers to barricade doors if necessary in a threat situation.

*How to show children how to move to a pre-determined rally point on campus if that becomes necessary, without or without their teacher.

Two sometimes overlooked aspects of active threat preparation for children are highlighted by  Good Housekeeping in a blog entitled, “12 Things You Can Do Right Now to Prep Your Kids Against an Active Shooter.”  They include perhaps the most difficult—KEEP CALM–while putting into play what they’ve learned and practiced in drills, and a suggestion targeted to perhaps middle school and high school students more: “If you see something, say something.”  There are few secrets at the middle and high school levels these days, especially with a good percentage of students at this level having access to e-mail and texting.  Students are often the first to know or hear of potential trouble on campus—especially involving a fellow student(s).  If students catch wind of potential danger or threats, they need to be taught there is no honor in silence, but notifying teachers, administrators or parents might well be the difference between safety and sorrow.

Threats Away from School Grounds

Schools are not the only place where active threats can occur.  As Simplemost.com discusses, threats can come at your home, and many public places such as restaurants, shopping centers, movie theaters and other locations.  The two key suggestions here: (1) Always be aware of your surroundings and the available entrance ways and exits of whatever physical structure you may be in, (2) Develop a special “Code Word” between you and your children that signals to them there is an immediate threat and to take the available appropriate reactionary steps to deal with it.

INTELLEO is happy to share these additional resources about teaching children active threat safety awareness in public places outside of school campuses.  These resources are well worth a review and include tips on protecting children in large crowds, special emphasis on infant and toddler safety, and teaching children what to do and what not to do should they become lost or separated from a parent or guardian while in a public place. Check out MOM365, Today.com, and ThePragmaticParent.

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