Active Shooter – When Should I Take Attendance of Our Students

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Active shooters present us with a scenario that is unlike any other in the world of emergency response. While the risk of an active shooter incident occurring in any one spot is extremely low, it is devastating when it does. For this reason, we must plan and prepare for all the eventualities this may present.

Taking Attendance Under Fire

One of the critical components of every emergency plan is locating your staff and students. That means you must take attendance. But how do you do that when bullets are flying, and you need to be quiet? Communications are on the down-low; you can’t just walk out there and take a headcount. This presents challenges, so today, we’re going to look at how we can address them.

Stay Safe, But Be Ready To Act

Active shooter incidents are highly dynamic. What is important to understand is that we’re not going to have a perfect headcount while the incident is occurring. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t do our best to track our people, keeping a mental account along with any digital notes we may have. Under no circumstances should you try to text, turn on your phone, or have a conversation when noise and light may give you or your staff and students away. Even so, when messages come in, it is crucial to know where those are and what they say. If you’re unable to jot those down somewhere, keep a mental log you can refer back to.

You must do this, especially if you’re the incident commander, because, at some point, you will encounter law enforcement. When you do, they will need to know approximately where the shooter is and whom they need to save. Of course, emergency personnel are going to do their own triage, regardless. But if we know that we have people stranded somewhere, we can immediately get to them and provide them with some safety.

In Short

So, the simple answer is to take attendance as best as you can during the event without giving away your hiding spot.  But don’t hyperfocus on it. Let the messages roll in and ensure that you keep track of them and can refer to them when you can resume a normal level of activity.

Watch the video above for more insights on how to handle this essential task.

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