I have the privilege to drive my two 7th grade sons to school most mornings. During the 10-minute drive, I try to teach them something new – a vocabulary word, math concept, current event topic, etc. Most of the time, they roll their eyes and feign interest.

Wednesday morning was no different – until I asked them how prepared they were to deal with an active shooter at school.

“A what?” they replied, slightly more interested than usual because they heard the word shooter.

“You know, if a crazy person got into your school and started shooting people,” I answered. “What would you do?”

“I’m not sure. We’ve done lock-down drills where we close the door, turn off the lights, and get under our desks,” they offered.

“Well, that’s a start, but you guys need a better plan than that,” I warned.

I then described exactly how they should respond to an active shooter incident – not only in school, but at a pep rally, football game, holiday event, or any public gathering.

As most of you know, 3 hours later, two people went on a shooting rampage at a Regional Center in San Bernardino (60 minutes from San Diego) and murdered 14 innocent people.

When my sons got home that afternoon, something happened that never happened before.

“Hey, Dad, remember what we talked about this morning? Can we go over that again?” they asked.

This shooting hit very close to home, and I think it got their attention.

“Of course,” I responded, “let’s take it from the top.”

As a former Navy SEAL and current firefighter, I am very comfortable talking about this topic with kids.

However, since the PrepWell community includes parents and children as young as 10 years old, I’ve decided to leave it up to you to address this topic with your children as you see fit.

In general, there are a few critical steps to keep in mind when faced with an active shooter scenario. The sooner you move through these steps, the better.

TAKE ACTION – don’t freeze up, stand around, or cower in fear

Instead, take action in this order:

  1. RUN
  2. HIDE
  3. FIGHT

I came across a very good 5-minute YouTube video (recommended by San Diego Police) that paints a realistic picture of what could happen and what to do.

I strongly encourage you to review this video and decide what (if anything) you should share with your child(ren). The video is fiction, but depicts the reality of a mass shooting very well (viewer discretion advised).

As a firefighter, I give regular presentations to schoolchildren about fire safety. One of the tips that every single child remembers is “STOP, DROP, and ROLL”. Two and three year olds spit out these action steps as if they were embedded in a chip in their brain. They’ve heard it over and over again.

Sadly, “RUN, HIDE, FIGHT” may be even more relevant in today’s world.

Please share this message with others who might find it useful.

Stay safe and be prepared,

Phil Black
PrepWell Academy Founder
Join our community here: www.prepwellacademy.com