School Emergencies Involving Violence
A Model Procedure
School Emergencies Involving


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SCHOL SAFETY AND SECURITY PLANNING AND DETERMINING WHICH PROCEDURES OR OTHER MEASURES WILL BE SUFFICIENT FOR A GIVEN SCHOOL ORGANIZATION IS THE RESPONSIBILITY OF THAT ORGANIZATION. The principles and guidelines in this material are general and apply to various different personal and organizational situations. Therefore application should no be made without consideration of specific circumstances and existing organizational policies. The material is intended to provide information, guidelines, techniques and considerations that will be useful in various situations. The material cannot anticipate all the various situations and conditions that might arise or under which this information may be used, nor do we know of or have any control over the specific skills, experience, abilities or limitations that course attendees individually possess. Inter/Action Associates, Inc. cannot accept any liability for personal injuries or property damage resulting from the application of information presented in the workbook or the seminar. NO WARRANTIES, WHETHER EXPRESSED OR IMPLIED, ACCOMPANY THE INFORMATION CONVEYED.

This material is provided with the compliments of INTER/ACTION ASSOCIATES, INC. We would like to thank our friend and colleague Mark Warrington, CPP for his work in developing much of this information.
Steve Kaufer, CPP
1281 N Gene Autry Trail, Suite K
Palm Springs, CA 92262
(800) 934-7797

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School Emergencies Involving Violence

PART I Emergency Planning & Preparedness 3

PART II Principal’s Emergency Guidelines 10

PART III Incident Follow-up and Recovery 14

ATTACHMENT A Teachers’ Emergency Checklist 19

ATTACHMENT B Principal’s Emergency Checklist 23

ATTACHMENT C Recovery and Follow-up Activities 25

PART I - Emergency Planning & Preparedness


Schools have always handled occasional student fights and other forms of violence, which were in the past, considered routine. Now, increasingly, children with weapons, youth gangs, angry parents and others act out violently in schools, thus posing a considerable challenge to educators. The conditions have changed significantly (threats have grown more serious) for school staff who are responsible for maintaining a safe environment. All this plays out amid concern over other violence generally in the community and at work, including intentional acts by co-workers. A concerted effort by school and central administrators is needed to prevent and manage the treat of violence in the schools.

Despite our best efforts to prevent threats and violence, tragic incidents do occur, and no school is immune from the ill effects of shootings, assaults, hostage taking, and other forms of intentional violence.

The following are basic guidelines to help principals and other prepare to manage such emergencies as safely and effectively as possible. The probability of a major incident will occur in a given school is low, but the potential impact is extremely high. Thus, all school organizations should include situations involving violence to their list of emergency procedures.


Threats, assaults, and intentional violence in schools can take many different forms, and the possible combinations of variables that define a specific incident are infinite. While different types of weapons may be involved, firearms are the often involved in serious incidents involving violence. By planning for the worst, emergency plans should not be overwhelmed and should be able to handle less severe occurrences. The worst case scenario for this type of emergency is essentially: A heavily armed person has come onto the premises, entered a school area densely populated with children, and opens fire, apparently intent on killing as many people as possible.

Emergencies involving violence include intentional acts such as:

Child abduction/kidnapping
Sexual predator/pedophile
Assaults, fights, gang activity
Shootings, armed intruder
Hostage situation
Riots, or Terrorist/organized attack on facility

Other scenarios that local emergency plans should provide for are:

Barricaded suspect: with or without hostages
Gun fight in or near school: including shooting of one or a few individuals
Sniper, ambush, or drive-by shooting, including so-called "shooting rampages"
Guns observed but not discharged
Other weapons, harmful instruments or substances

At schools, perpetrators of intentional violence may be:

Angry or hostile parent
Stranger off the street
Rival gangs
Employee’s spouse
Non-custodial parent

These kinds of incidents are different than other emergencies:

They can be volatile and fast moving
Actions that afford protection in one set of conditions may not work in another situation.
In some cases, teachers and other staff may have to assess conditions independently, make decisions, and take immediate action to protect their own life and/or the lives of others.

The objectives for managing this type of incident are to:

Respond to and manage the incident safely and effectively
Protect the physical safety and emotional well-being of students and others
Prevent or minimize injury, damage, and disruption
Return to normal operations as soon as possible

In order to achieve these objectives, school organizations must have the following:

Leadership: for planning and preparation, during the emergency itself and for recovery efforts.
Written emergency plans, updated, and coordinated internally and with outside agencies.
Emergency communications systems, equipment and supplies ready for use.
Staff that is trained, alert, and mentally prepared to act effectively and safely during a critical incident.

There are no guarantees that violence in schools can be prevented or that an incident will not occur or be serious. However, planning and preparation should significantly improve the chances of weathering such an incident with minimum loss and emotional trauma for all involved.


These guidelines provide basic information to help plan for school emergencies involving violence. Please note that this information illustrates the key elements that should be included in emergency plans, and is not a substitute for detailed, site specific planning. It is imperative that each school organization plans and develops emergency procedures tailored to its specific needs.

These guidelines are general guidance only, and may not cover all types of events involving violence. Also actions that provide protection in one situation may be the wrong thing to do in another. Individuals should use this information along with their other knowledge skills and abilities to decide the best course of action during an emergency.

In the context of weathering a violent incident, certain measures can significantly mitigate the negative impact of such an occurrence. These measures should be integrated and coordinated with emergency plans.

Key preparedness and mitigation items include:

A comprehensive workplace violence prevention program in place
Adequate physical, building security – doors, locks, windows, etc. –
special security glazing, barriers where needed
Communications and alarm systems working properly
Effective access control and surveillance of areas
Aware and alert staff – aware of surroundings, known procedures
Emergency plans kept up-to-date

Best minimum criteria for emergency plans include:

Based on site-specific vulnerability analysis
Prepared by qualified persons
Coordinated internally and with outside emergency response agencies
Thorough, top quality training for staff and students
Tested and validated, including simulation exercises

Emergency plans, training and other measures can be done at various levels, and it is essential to determine what level is right for your organization. Schools should evaluate their organization’s vulnerability to workplace violence, the level of overall emergency preparedness, security in general and take into consideration other environmental factors in order to determine what level of preparedness is needed.

Principal’s responsible for school sites should ensure that up-to-date and building specific plans are in place. Planners should be careful to see that any employee who has a role to play in workplace violence emergency response and recovery has the training, equipment and instruction to do the job safely and effectively. In addition, all staff should know the basic actions they can take to maximize their personal safety and the safety of others who may be caught up in a shooting incident. Students should have simple/basic instructions, appropriate for their instructional level, regarding what to do if they see a gun, hear gunfire, or if they know of any situation that may lead to violence with weapons.

Some schools have unique vulnerabilities due to their location, population, or other factors and must plan accordingly. For example, facilities such as elementary schools, childcare facilities, and those with disabled persons or boarding programs have specific exposures that must be addressed. In addition, schools should be ready to take emergency action during special events, field trips or any other school activity.

Detailed emergency action guidelines and background information for staff should be prepared, and thorough, top quality training should be provided.


In any emergency, knowing who will do what is essential. Emergency roles and responsibilities, and the training needed to fulfill these, should be defined for each level of organization. The following are general examples.
A. Principal

The principal with overall responsibility for a site or facility should ensure all planning and preparedness activities occur and are satisfactory. This includes emergency plan development, implementation, testing and maintenance.

During an incident, the principal may be the person in charge, or support an "Incident Commander" from the Police. District officials will also be involved. In each case, they will represent the school as they make policy decisions, make statements to the media, or take other action depending on the circumstances. It is important that a line of succession be established to make clear who is in charge, in the event the principal is not available.

B. Teachers

Managing critical emergency incidents is not part of a teacher’s job description, yet they will likely be supervising children when an incident occurs. The teacher’s role of protecting and directing students under their care, remains the same in this extraordinary type of emergency just as it does during any other type of emergency.

An emergency checklist for teachers is included in ATTACHMENT A to this guideline.

C. School Security Officers, Receptionist, and other Staff

School security officers, receptionist, office staff, custodian and maintenance staff, have a special role since they may be the first to see a problem developing or may be the first to have contact with a potentially violent person. Thus, it is essential for these front-line employees to know emergency instructions, remain aware of the environment, and be alert to early signs of problems.

Emergency response guidelines should be written for security officers and receptionist, and training provided. Emphasis should be placed on how to recognize problems, alert and warn other employees and students and activate the emergency plan. Following an emergency, security personnel may be assigned to assist law enforcement, provide additional site security, or do other special activities.

D. District Level Crisis Management Team

The composition of the district crisis response team will vary but typically it will include the principal or manager from the effected area, senior administrators from the central office, and representatives from human resources, security, and other specialists. Depending on the type of emergency, other groups and specialists will be involved, including public affairs, risk and insurance, facilities and legal counsel. In addition, persons and groups from public safety agencies, and others from outside the school organization may be involved.

When an incident involving violence occurs, the Crisis Management Team (CMT) is an important resource to the principal in charge at the site and to the law enforcement incident commander. During the emergency, team members should convene and make themselves available to the principal in charge and provide support as needed.

After a serious incident, the Crisis Management Team can lead or support certain aspects of the recovery efforts; especially those relating to the emotional well being of victims and other affected by an incident.

E. Classified Employees (All Staff)
All employees should know how to recognize and report problems and what immediate steps they should take to protect themselves if violence erupts. This includes reporting early warning signs of problems with a student, co-worker or other person known to them, or notifying administrators if a sudden attack occurs.

Also, employees should be reminded to follow instructions of police and principals immediately and explicitly during an emergency.
F. Others

Parents, volunteers, contractors or others who may be on campus and should be provided with basic emergency instructions.


Each employee who may be part of emergency response or recovery activities should be thoroughly trained by qualified persons at a level commensurate with their responsibilities and the activities they might undertake. Typically training groups are divided into: all staff, teachers, security and receptionist, principals and other building administrators, and the CMT.

In addition to basic classroom training, employees should participate in hands-on simulations involving role-playing, the use of emergency equipment, and rehearsing other elements of the emergency plan. All elements of training should be carefully defined as part of planning and provisions for new employees. In addition, refresher training and other aspects of ongoing training should be addressed in emergency plans.


A list of emergency equipment sufficient to support emergency plans should be specified. Most of this will be on site already, however additional or different items may be required to meet the needs of a particular facility. Equipment should be inspected regularly, maintained and replaced when necessary. The following is a basic list.

A. Communications equipment

1. A good quality bullhorn (fresh batteries/battery charged)
2. Two-way radios
3. Tape recorder with telephone microphone
4. Extra telephone jacks and telephones
5. Cellular phones
6. Computer(s) and modem(s)
7. FAX machine

B. Command post supplies

1. Legal pads, note pads, pens, markers, etc.
2. Public telephone directory
3. School telephone/staff directory
4. Flip charts, drafting/masking tape, etc.
5. Barrier tape, self sticking labels

C. Information lists, maps, drawings

1. List of telephone numbers, FAX lines, portable phones, radio call/pager numbers for:
- public safety agencies
- key school personnel
2. Lists of employees
3. Emergency procedures
4. Personnel assignments during emergencies

D. Facilities/site information

1. Complete set of building drawings
- floor plans including location of:
- all telephone wall jacks, computers, other communication devices
- all exits and entrances
- utility shut offs, HVAC controls
- service access/tunnels, etc.
2. A map of grounds and adjacent property and street guide of area

Note: It is advisable to provide a set of building plans, emergency information and
emergency procedures to the local law enforcement agency.

Principal’s Emergency Response Guidelines

(Note: This section corresponds to the "Principal’s Emergency Checklist" – Attachment B)


Initial indications may come in different forms such as reports from staff, notification that there is a disturbance, sound of gunshots, etc. Unusual sounds and suspicious circumstances should be investigated immediately. If the emergency involves persons showing or discharging firearms, these emergency guidelines will apply. The first step is to quickly ascertain the basic type/nature of the incident.

Barricaded suspect/hostage
Gun fight (including shooting of one or a few individuals)
Attack on facility sniper/drive-by shooting ("shooting rampage")
Gather key information.


Have someone stay on the line with 9-1-1 operator. Have someone else make school/internal emergency notifications. Implement the building emergency plan. Gather staff available for emergency duties. Direct non-essential staff to a safe area.


Sound appropriate emergency warning signals (code or plain text instructions) to staff. Provide for warning the entire site, including those in yards or in ancillary buildings. Respond to the special needs of students or staff with disabilities (alert, warning and immediate movement/evacuation or sheltering). Indicate immediate sheltering action for those exposed to danger.


Secure all areas and monitor the situation from a safe vantagepoint. Staff located at key entryways should be alert to persons who may be locked out. All staff should understand the need to stay out of the line of fire, and to try to know the location of the threat source. Lock, but do not barricade, exterior doors and/or interior doors as appropriate. Assign staff to secure areas and monitor conditions. Be alert and ready to recognize and deal with unexpected developments.


Keep responding police units updated on the situation via 9-1-1. If there are any witnesses or others with important information assemble them in a safe area and have them wait for police. You may be able to suggest areas that first responding units may wish to use or avoid. Keep police informed about where the threat is and what it consists of. Gather key information for law enforcement. Start an incident event/status log.


If there are injured persons who can be cared for without exposing others to danger, do so. If the threat is contained or fixed in one area that affords evacuation safely away from the danger, do so. If the incident is resolved or stabilized before police arrive, protect any crime scene area(s) and evidence. If a weapon is surrendered, secure it safely & immediately.

Deal with the potential for panic. Most people will perform adequately during serious emergency. A few may panic or freeze. Panic can spread, and all staff should work to prevent this by helping those individuals or groups who need it. If a staff member is not performing due to fear, have someone take over or work with them during emergency.


Remember that once police are on site, they are in charge and the role of all staff members is to facilitate and support their efforts: and follow instructions explicitly. If appropriate, suggest possible areas for staging, command post, emergency medical, etc. to the incident commander. Stay at the command post or resource pool areas as instructed by the incident commander. Provide information as needed. In addition to incident specific information, the police may need site background and resource information, personal background on persons involved, and specific facilities information. It is suggested that a person who is thoroughly familiar with the physical plant be present or readily available. This person (typically the head custodian or maintenance person) should have a complete set of keys and know all areas of the premises, including utility shut-offs, communications panels, heating and ventilating systems, etc.


The teachers’ role of directing students under their supervision through an emergency remains the same in this type of emergency just as it does during any other type of emergency.

Generally, during emergency teachers should stay alert to conditions, be prepared to act to protect students, and be prepared for the unexpected. Teachers should be familiar with all warning signals, codes, and communication devices by which emergency information can be communicated to and from security or the emergency command post. (See Attachment A Teachers Emergency Guidelines)


Staff and volunteers who are not involved in the emergency should stay in the designated safe area, and stand by to assist after the "all clear" signal has been given.


It is impossible to predict or list all the possible contingencies that may arise during a school violence episode. The following are a few possible contingencies that schools might face during the initial phases of this type of incident. It is important to be thinking about possible contingencies, know what options are available, and apply common sense to determine the safest response. The following are a few illustrations of contingencies and possible solutions.

A. Principal(s) unavailable
-Follow succession plans, Call 911 and District emergency contact
B. Main office involved/occupied by violent intruder
-Set up command post at alternate location
-Get equipment from neighboring school
C. News media arrive before law enforcement
-Direct them to a safe area, help them get in touch with School PIO
D. Parents arrive at command post
-Direct them to a safe area, tell them what is occurring, assure them that
they will be reunited with their child as soon as possible.
E. Hostage taker begins stating demands to school staff before police arrive.
-Stall: have plausible comeback, e.g., "I need to have authorization from,"
F. Incident occurs before or after school, at a special event, on bus, out of town etc.
-Use portions of guidance that apply, be flexible, adept to circumstances


The first response by police to a shooting incident or other violence will probably be by local law enforcement patrol units. If there is a serious or protracted emergency such as a hostage situation, a Special Weapons and Tactics team (SWAT), Special Emergency Response Team (SERT), or other specialists may be used. If a special team is called in, it may take some time for them to arrive.
The school official in charge of a facility will be the focal point for the schools immediate response before law enforcement arrives, as well as the school recovery activities after police leave the premises. However, while on the scene, law enforcement is in charge. The principal and all other school staff should facilitate police efforts and follow their instructions explicitly.

Most shooting incidents will be over quickly. However, in the case of serious or protracted situations, a command post or Incident Command System will probably be implemented and typically be comprised of: incident command, resource pool, and a secondary staging area.


The Incident Command System (ICS), used by public safety responders, provides for coordination during emergencies involving multiple agencies and jurisdictions. In short, it means that the principal (representing the School District), and the public safety commanders will work together at the command post to use what ICS calls "Unified Command" or joint decision making between agencies with financial and legal responsibility for the emergency. It is recommended that school principals and crisis managers become familiar and trained in the Incident Command System.

The principal in charge, and a few other key people as requested should be at the command post working with the police incident commander. Other key staff, as prescribed in the emergency plan, should find a nearby but separate place to convene and remain there on standby until emergency issues are resolved.

Incident Recovery and Follow-up Activities

The following is essentially a continuation of the principal’s emergency instructions, now focusing on recovery phase activities. This corresponds with Attachment C – Recovery and Follow-up Checklist.


After the police incident commander has announced the "All Clear", responsibility for managing the remainder of the incident shifts back to the principal. The focus also shifts from physical protection of students and staff to providing for the medical needs and emotional well being of those involved. Even if there were no injuries, the fright and anxiety experienced may be considerable, and the effects significant.

If for some extraordinary reason, school principals have occasion to announce the "All Clear" (e.g., an accidental shooting where situation has been secured before the police arrive), be absolutely sure that the threat is in fact no longer present. Whenever possible, wait for the police to arrive before giving the "All Clear".

Law enforcement may keep certain areas cordoned off to complete the crime scene investigation. During this period, school personnel should support law enforcement by furnishing information, helping to control access, and by providing other support as needed.


On scene emergency medical services will probably be directed initially by the law enforcement incident commander. When the "All Clear" has been given, if there have been injuries or mass casualties, emergency medical services personnel will organize triage and medical evacuation. Assistance by first aid qualified school personnel will be welcomed as long as they don’t get in the way. Part of the building emergency plan should be to assign staff to track who goes to which hospital. Assign staff to ride in ambulances and then be the school contact stationed at the hospital to communicate the number and status of persons taken there.


Account for all students, employees, visitors, contractors and others on site, at evacuation assembly areas, at hospital(s), and at other off-site locations. Make sure a thorough building sweep including possible "hiding places" is conducted as soon as possible after the "All Clear".


If there are injuries or fatalities, a timely and humane notification to family members is essential. If there are fatalities, law enforcement usually does the notifications. Likewise, announcements to co-workers should be handled carefully.

A reunification procedure should be carefully pre-planned and should be flexible enough to work in various alternate locations or when groups are separated. The main concerns are accounting for and ascertaining the status of students, employees, and conducting secure and orderly reunification. Remember that there may be distraught parents, upset spouses of employees, co-workers, and others trying to locate a loved one.


Depending on the severity of the incident, management may decide that temporary closure or modification of school schedules is in order. In this case, arrangements should be clearly explained and communicated to the entire school community.


The crisis counseling team leader should contact the principal in charge when they arrive on-site and conduct their work under the direction of the principal. In addition to immediate trauma counseling, the team can help principals plan for the days and weeks ahead. The resource should be accessible to all students staff and families related to the school, even those not involved in the incident. Provisions should be made for students or families who need a bilingual interpreter, or signing interpreter assistance. Provisions should also be made for those who were absent the day of the incident as well as for night and weekend telephone access to counseling.

If an incident results in fatalities, grief counseling for individuals and groups should be addressed. Some schools have memorial services that are timed or arranged as part of the grief management process. The long-term healing of the effects of an incident will be addressed in the recovery plan developed by management and the crisis counseling team.


In the event of a major incident, there will probable be one or more Public Information Officers (PIO) on scene from the lead law enforcement agency. The school spokesperson should work closely to coordinate efforts with the law enforcement PIO. Regular school policy and procedures for emergency communications with the media and release of information will apply.

Controlling rumors during and immediately after an incident is important. The best way to prevent or quell rumors is to regularly disseminate accurate and up-to-date information. Prevent the sharing of unconfirmed information.


There may be a detailed crime scene investigation that includes collection of evidence and interviewing of witnesses, victims, and others. Police may cordon off a crime scene area that may be a small area, a room, or it may include entire buildings and grounds. As always, full cooperation should be extended to law enforcement. It is reasonable to ask the incident commander when the area will be available for clean up or repair.


Law enforcement will interview selected staff members during the follow-up investigation. Principals should work with the law enforcement supervisor in charge to arrange these interviews in such a way to facilitate law enforcement interviewers, and to minimize unnecessary inconvenience or stress for students and staff who are already traumatized by the incident. Make sure that the school crisis counseling team and police interviewers coordinate their efforts. Likewise, principals should work with law enforcement supervisors in obtaining information about what exactly happened.


When the situation has stabilized and you have enough information, tell school employees what is next (e.g., temporary closure, modified work shifts, initial recovery "to do" list, special agenda for next day). In addition to relaying information, be prepared to answer a lot of questions and plan for resumption of operations and other recovery activities. There may be numerous details depending on the nature and severity of the incident. The plan will evolve from short term to long-term, and will be largely determined by how quickly and how well those affected by the incident recover.


Arrange for additional site security if necessary. If the incident was serious enough to attract a lot of media and persons who are curious but otherwise have no legitimate purpose on the premises, you may wish to add or modify security coverage for a few days.


When law enforcement is finished with the incident scene investigation, they will "give the building back" to you. Clean up should be thorough, and all physical damage or traces of the event should be cleaned-up, removed, or repaired even if round-the-clock work is necessary. This may include re-painting, new floor covering, etc. It may be beneficial psychologically to rearrange rooms and/or furniture, or make new room or area assignments, check with the crisis counseling team


School specialists, plus those from public safety agencies can take a many tasks and concerns off the principal’s hands. The key is for you to know their capabilities and procedures so you are confident that tasks/issues are being handled well. Testing of plans, especially through simulation drills, helps you know the capabilities of others and helps build trust between you and specialist so that optimum coordination should occur in an actual emergency.


Effective preparation for emergencies involving violence can significantly improve the chances of weathering such an incident with minimum loss, disruption, and emotional trauma for all involved. Moreover, good emergency preparedness provides peace of mind to principals and staff, and fosters a positive attitude throughout the school community that incidents involving violence can be survived and managed effectively.


The following checklists are intended to provide general planning guidance. These are samples only and should not be used for emergencies until they have been adapted to the specific needs of each school, carefully integrated with the organization’s emergency plans, and tested.






If there is a heated argument or fight, if serious threats made, or if violence threatens, withdraw from the area quickly and quietly (without drawing attention to yourself or those in your charge). Go to a safe area and immediately report the problem.

NOTE: The following is for incidents involving violence with weapons. It is for all teachers including those who are not trained or expected to intervene in arguments or break up fights.

Act upon direct observation or knowledge of conditions: look, listen, etc..
Report significant information to the office or emergency command post
Maintain awareness of conditions, location of threat source
Respond immediately to warning signals, codes
(Add local Building warning codes. Use plain text for location codes)
Signal/Condition A - Staff alert for intruder: positions in hall, report sightings
Signal/Condition B - Lock doors, secure building/rooms, await instructions
Signal/Condition C - Take immediate sheltering actions: violence has erupted
Signal/Condition D - Emergency over, all clear


-Take immediate sheltering action to protect children and yourself:
- Lie face down, flat on floor, cover head, get under tables/desks if
possible. Stay away from windows, and doors if possible
- In other areas, school bus, vehicles use basic "duck & cover"
- In open areas, use objects immediately available: curbs, vehicles,
Trees, poles, etc.
- If completely in open, lay down and stay motionless.
Stay put: move only if it is more dangerous to stay where you are.
Lock doors (Do not chain or barricade. Do not lock out those
needing shelter.)
Close drapes/curtains/blinds, only if safe to do so.
Evacuation from building only when directed: safe route, secure assembly point. Move quickly: be ready to seek immediate cover if shots are fired.


Protect children and other persons
Care for injured (do not expose yourself to danger)
Maintain calm: deal with panic/hysterical reactions
Provide for needs of disabled persons
Follow instructions of police immediately and explicitly
Be prepared for police to appear suddenly
Be ready to move instantly, follow special instructions (know possible evacuation routes, including windows)
Be prepared to deal with unexpected developments
Think of possible courses of action for different situations.
Take alternate action only if necessary for immediate protection of life. Have accurate headcount and accounting for persons.
If safe to do so, report status or changes to office/incident command post.

IV. SPECIAL SITUATIONS (Surviving worse case scenarios)


Stay calm, "don’t be a hero"
Follow instructions of captor
Cooperate, be friendly if possible, don’t argue or antagonize captor(s) or other hostages
Inform captors of medical or other special needs
Be prepared to wait. Elapsed time is a good sign
Don’t try to escape, don’t try to resolve situation by force or otherwise
Be observant and remember everything you see or hear
If a police rescue takes place, get on the floor & stay down


Control yourself: Speak calmly and slowly, use a low tone of Ask: "What do you want me to do?" or "What can I do to help you?"
Position yourself. Move back slowly, turning slightly (—45 degrees). Keep hands low, still, and slightly away from your body.
Look at the person, not the weapon.
Talk with the subject. Ask: "Is it okay if I take a deep breath?" "Is it OK if I take a small step back?" The more "yes’s" you get, the better. Move toward the question, "What exactly do you want to have happen?"
Wait for help, stall for time. Keep the individual talking if possible.
Do not rush or try to disarm the person unless it is your only option.
If the person starts shooting, quickly use whatever objects or cover is available. Run away or escape if possible. If you have no other options, bring your arms and legs in front of you toward the attacker. Never give up.

Stay where you are, wait for instructions
Account for all students, others (stay with them)
Check for injuries (Ask young children "do you hurt anywhere?")
Preserve (don’t touch if possible) any physical evidence, notify police.
Using discretion and verified information, explain to children what has happened and what will happen next. Allow them to ask questions, express feelings, etc.
Stay with "your" students until they get signed out.
Report to office or other emergency assembly point.
Staff debriefing and instructions for recovery/follow-up activities.
Assist with follow-up activities.
Take advantage of personal support services (EAP).
Go off duty, get with family/friends, take care of yourself.


CAUTION: Armed confrontations can be unpredictable and very dangerous. There are no guarantees of a safe outcome. The above are techniques you can choose to use if you are caught up in a violent incident involving weapons, and you cannot avoid or escape the situation, or wait for professional assistance.


ß Incidents involving violence can be volatile, fast moving, and dangerous.
ß Actions that afford protection in one situation may not work in another.
ß In rare cases, you may be isolated/without communication and have to assess conditions independently, make decisions by yourself, and take immediate action to protect you own life and/or the lives of children you are with.
ß While managing critical incidents is not part of a teacher’s job description, the possibility exists for you to be supervising a group of children when an incident occurs. The teacher’s role of protecting and directing students under their care, remains the same in this extraordinary type of emergency just as it does during any other type of emergency.


With most survival ordeals, confidence and a positive attitude are important factors. Those who do high stress/high risk police work, include mental conditioning as a regular part of their preparedness efforts. Thinking about the following statements of affirmation relative to personal readiness is beneficial:

I can react and perform effectively during a violent emergency.
I can decide not to be afraid or panic.
I have the knowledge, skill, and ability to protect myself and those entrusted to my care.
I know what to do, and am mentally prepared to handle a critical incident.
I can breath deeply to control stress anytime I start feeling tense.
I can stay focused, in control, and do what I have to, step by step.
I will survive no matter what. (Make a personal pledge a commitment to
Yourself, your family, and your students to survive no matter what.)



1. Immediate Assessment
Confirm and ascertain the type of incident
Obtain essential information

2. Call 9-1-1
Have someone stay on the line with 9-1 -1 operator
Have someone else notify school emergency notification point
Implement school crisis management plans
Gather key staff available for emergency duties
Direct non-essential staff to a safe area

3. Sound warning to employees
Emergency warning & condition signals (entire site)
Immediate sheltering action for those exposed to danger
All others: shelter in place or move to safer location if safe to do so.
Signal instructions

4. Secure building, secure areas, monitor situation
Exterior doors locked
Interior doors locked where possible
Staff assigned to secure areas, monitor conditions
Recognize and be ready for contingencies

5. Wait for police
Keep responding units updated on situation via 9-1-1 assemble witnesses,
Suggest possible areas for staging, command post, emergency medical, etc.
Gather key information for law enforcement
Maintain event and status log

6. Stabilize elements of situation if safe to do so
Care for injured (safety for those assisting)
Contractors, visitors instructions
Protect crime scene, evidence

7. Work with police to resolve situation
Stay at command post, support incident commander provide information
incident specific
Site background and resources
Personal background on all persons involved
Special staff resources, abilities, training
Direct staff
Coordinate school response
off-site, staging areas, hospitals, etc.
corporate/branch coordination

8. After "All Clear"

Emergency medical care
Account for all employees and staff: on-site, at hospital, or other off-site locations
Notification, reunification of students with family members
Support law enforcement follow-up activities
Employee de-briefing
Arrange for site security if necessary
Work with specialists
Emergency medical/hospitals
School Crisis Counseling Team
Public Information Officer
Facilities clean up and repair support

10. Initiate recovery and follow up activities (See Attachment )
Brief staff and provide (access to) support
Plan for resumption of operations ("next day" plan)
Arrange for physical plant clean-up and repair
Begin long-term recovery planning




1. Emergency Medical Care
Help organize triage and medical evacuation
Put stick-on labels with victim’s name on chest
Assign staff to:
assist emergency medical personnel
track who goes to which hospital
ride in ambulances
serve as school contact at the hospital(s)

2. Account for all students, employees, and others
Building sweep
Head count by staff
Account for all students, employees, and others
at evacuation assembly areas
-at hospital(s)
-at other off-site locations

3. Notification, reunification with parents, family members
Orderly and compassionate control of and communication with students, parents.
Notice of reunification/sign out process
Notice of injury: name of hospital
Notice of fatality: usually done by law enforcement
Reunification and sign-out: "orderly and secure," follow plan

4. Trauma counseling & support
Contact crisis counseling team leader
Determine immediate stress trauma counseling
Plan for the following hours, days
Provide access to counseling resource(s) for all students, employees, others.
Grief management plan & counseling if necessary

5. Communications
Work with Public Information Officers
school, lead law enforcement agency
crisis communication policy & plan applies
Control rumors: regular updates

6. Support law enforcement follow-up activities
Facilitate police follow-up activities crime scene investigation, interviewing of
witnesses, victims, and others
Provide staff witnesses, information to police: assemble staff for de-briefing

7. Work with specialists
On-site specialists
District support specialists
Utilize/coordinate resources available from other agencies or organizations
Outside contract or volunteer services

8. Staff Briefing.
Tell staff what happened
Tell staff what is next
closure period/reopening process
recovery "to do" list
special schedule
Answer questions of staff
Make special assignments: staff recovery planning/work team

9. Site security
Arrange for additional site security if necessary

10. Facilities clean-up and repair
Make sure physical scene investigation is completed
Thorough clean-up and repair all traces of the event as soon as possible


11. Develop a long-term recovery plan with staff, crisis counseling team, and others.
12. Brief staff regularly in the hours and days following a serious incident.
13. Make sure staff has full and easy access to stress counseling support.
14. Participate in incident follow-up critique and prepare an "After Action Report" that
includes recommended improvements to emergency plans.
15. Follow-up on recommendations, share information with other organizations as