Where would you go if there was an intruder in your school?
Our friends at Secure Education Consultants (SEC) specialize in protection – specifically for education facilities. Their team is composed of former secret service agents who apply what they learned in the government sector to increase security in schools across the nation. Learn more about SEC. In this article, SEC dives into the difference between cover and concealment and strategies to create a safer learning environment for students and workplace for staff.
Where would you go to protect yourself if there was an intruder at your school? Childcare providers and schools must ask that question for themselves and for the students in their care. It is much harder to hide an entire class of students than a single person, which is why we turn to SEC’s overarching message: Be Prepared. Schools can prepare for intruders by identifying areas, prior to an incident, where students, teachers and visitors can easily and effectively seek cover and/or concealment.
Concealment is simply hiding yourself in a way that makes it difficult for an intruder to identify your location. You can effectively conceal yourself and your students by covering interior and exterior windows with shades or blinds, turning off the lights and positioning yourself in an area of the room that prevents you from being seen by someone on the outside.
Finding cover means positioning yourself behind an object made of a substantial material that would not only allow you not to be seen, but would also minimize the intruder’s ability to harm you. Concrete or brick walls, thick trees, dense furniture and vehicles are just some examples of things that can provide effective cover.
During many of SEC’s Critical Incident Training sessions, we often see staff members respond to a violent intruder scenario by freezing or simply getting low to the ground. This leaves them both exposed and unprotected. We recommend that schools identify all the areas of the facility that provide effective cover or concealment and conduct drills for staff and students to practice responding to those areas.
Just as schools post floor plans that identify evacuation routes, SEC also recommends posting similar floor plans that highlight where the areas in the school that provide the best cover and concealment are. These visible “tactical” floor plans can serve not only as reminders to staff and students but can also be an accessible reference for visitors such as parents and substitutes.
Understanding the difference between cover and concealment, identifying the areas of the school that provide them and conducting drills in which staff and students respond to those areas are all practices that facilitate effective responses during violent intruder incidents.
Not sure if your cover and concealment plans are up to par? Reach out to SEC for feedback.
Planning will help save lives in an active shooter situation. The tragedy of school and workplace shootings, coupled with other attacks throughout the year, should motivate organizations and schools to properly plan and prepare for like situations. Jason Russell, Founder and CEO of SEC, recently joined Firestorm during a Virtual Exercise that focused on responding to an active shooter situation. If you would like to schedule a time to view the 2-hour exercise, please contact Firestorm and mention the August Virtual Exercise with Jason Russell.