6 steps schools can immediately take to protect against active shooters
BY CAROLINE RAMSEY-HAMILTON ON FEB 15, 2018
As an active shooter expert, the last thing I expected yesterday was a shooting in my own neighborhood. I left a meeting at about 2:30 ET and noticed that there were sirens and emergency vehicles everywhere. They were racing to respond to an alert at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., which has now become the site of one of the worst school shootings in American history.
Parkland is an affluent residential community that backs up to the Everglades. The school was named to honor Stoneman Douglas, an environmentalist who fought to protect Florida’s Everglades. In fact, just this week, the city was ranked as the 15th safest city in America and one of the safest cities in Florida.
But it could not be protected from an active shooter. Minutes after the ambulances flew by; I got the alert on my phone: an active shooter situation practically in my own backyard. By the next morning, we knew much more.
Immediate Steps to Shore Up School Security
- Access control is the starting point. If you can’t control access, anyone can bring any kind of guns into our schools. Stand-alone metal detectors are relatively inexpensive and easy to install. Wand scanners could be deployed tomorrow. Backpacks and cases need to be scanned or opened.
- Limit and alarm entrances to the schools. No school is secure if there are multiple entrances, and if anyone can enter the school undetected. All exterior doors should be locked 100 percent of the time, not propped open, and doors should be checked weekly to make sure they close effectively.
3. Actively monitor security cameras. Cameras should be set up for active monitoring on every egress door, so that if a shooter somehow gets in, they can be discovered at the first shot and then isolated so that students are removed from the immediate area. Students could have been prevented from putting themselves in harm’s way, or even rescued.
- Leverage gunshot detection solutions. Gunshot detection software can alert at the sound of the first round fired.
- Color photo ID badges should be issued to every student and worn at all times. They cost almost nothing and instantly help to keep people out who should not be in the facility, such as the shooter who carried out this massacre.6. Use bullet-resistant backpacks and white boards. Though they can’t stop a gunman, these products can help children and staff protect themselves when all else fails.
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Author: Caroline Ramsey-Hamilton is a security risk assessment expert based in Boca Raton, Florida and Annapolis, Maryland. She is an expert in CMS Final Rule
Compliance, Healthcare Facility Risk Assessments, Active Shooters, Lone Wolf, and Workplace Violence Security Risk Assessments, Facility Assessments and more.
She works with companies and agencies to do accurate and comprehensive risk assessments on critical assets, especially healthcare provider types like hospitals,
psychiatric facilities, skilled nursing homes, retirement homes, addiction centers,
rehabilitation clinics, health clinics, and many more.
With a background in statistics and research techniques, Hamilton has developed a unique quantitative approach to the problems of conducting and quantifying security risk and vulnerability assessments, in a variety of industries, but all relating to security issues. Using different types of available data, such as asset values, loss potential, the value of the organization, threat frequencies, and cost of potential controls, and using patented algorithms, she has created a patented Risk Process and a variety of unique solutions and products that meet all standards for security risk assessment.
Caroline Ramsey-Hamilton has been a pioneer in the fields of both information security and physical security since 1984. In 1984, she was a member of the NIST Model Builder’s Workshop to define risk for the U.S. federal government. Since then, she has worked with the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) and with the Department of Defense under the auspices of the Secretary of Defense.
She has worked with risk management policy groups internationally and in the U.S. including SARMA (Security Assessment Risk Management Association); ASIS (The International Society of Industrial Security) serving on both the ASIS – Physical Security Council, and the ASIS – Information Technology Security Council (ITSC). In addition, she has worked with organizations in more than eighteen countries; and with large private companies. She was a member of the IBM Data Governance Council and other leading industry analyst groups.
Ms. Ramsey-Hamilton has been working for more than twenty-five years in how to use quantitative programs to assess and forecast a variety of outcomes, including creating models for using forecasting as a mechanism to plan and predict the results of political campaigns.
For the last fifteen years, Ms. Ramsey-Hamilton has focused on the development of accurate and robust Active Shooter, Anti-Terrorism, and Security Risk assessment programs. With hundreds of clients in over thirty countries, she speaks at security conferences all over the United States, and around the world including England, Belgium, Japan, South Africa, Taiwan, Abu Dhabi, Qatar, Ireland, Belgium, Thailand and dozens more.
She received the distinguished service award from the Maritime Security Council, and a Lifetime Achievement award from the Anti-Terrorism Accreditation Board in 2011.
She has written over sixty articles on security for a variety of magazines including the Journal for Healthcare Safety and Security (IAHSS), the Computer Security Journal, Intersec, Cargo Security,Security Technology and Design and many more.
Caroline is currently working on several books about security and is President of Risk and Security LLC, a risk assessment consulting practice, and lives in Annapolis, Maryland and South Florida.