Tuesday, December 18th, 2012
One of the things that makes the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary even more horrifying to me is that the school seems to have done everything right—the building was locked and had a camera surveillance system, the teachers were well-trained in emergency procedures—but it still didn’t prevent Adam Lanza from getting in and killing 26 people.
Safety experts like Trevor Pyle, who has worked with many top disaster and emergency service agencies, stress that the tragedy could have been much worse. “The teachers and staff did the right thing, and their actions saved countless lives,” he told me in an interview.
There are certain behaviors that could make it more likely for you (and your child) to make it out of a situation like that alive—like six-year-old Aidan Licata and his friends, who ran when the opportunity presented itself, or one little girl, the only survivor from her classroom, who played dead. Here’s what Pyle suggests:
• Tell them to listen to their teachers and school staff members. They receive extensive training on what to do and how to take care of the children. So tell them to recognize when the teacher is serious, and follow directions.
• Make sure that they pay attention during the drills, and know what to do when they are told to evacuate.
• Tell them to tell an adult if something appears to be “weird,” and that they aren’t going to get in trouble if they are wrong. Better to be safe than sorry. If they see something, make sure they say something.
• Always know where at least two exits are. If you can, escape. If you can’t, hide. If you have to, fight with everything you have.
• If you can run, bring everyone you can with you. Get out of the building, and don’t stop until you find cover. Warn other people away from the building and call 911. Report your location. When cops arrive, keep your hands clear and don’t approach them. They aren’t there to rescue you, they are there to stop the shooter.
• If you have to hide, close and lock the door, turn out the lights, and mute your cell phone. Don’t move until the cops arrive.
• If you have to fight, improvise a weapon and attack. Target the shooter’s head, and torso. Do not hesitate, and don’t stop until he is down.
Hopefully, this is the kind of information you won’t ever have to use—but it may just save your life.
For more information and resources regarding the Sandy Hook Tragedy, visit the following on Parents.com:
- The Sandy Hook Tragedy: Dealing with Your Own Anxiety as a Parent
- Processing the Newtown School Shooting as a Parent
- 5 Helpful Resources for Talking to Kids About Tragedies
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