Preparing for the Terrorist Threat to Schools

Opinion: Campuses must move beyond a simple lockdown-only plan and integrate the survival options of Run-Hide-Fight into their plans and training.


  • Responsibilities: Understanding your responsibilities to help others, such as persons with special needs, is a vital factor when determining response.
  • Securable Location: A location that can provide a degree of protection from an attacker.  This includes rooms with doors that may be secured and has minimal interior windows from the hallway to the room.  A securable location may be conducive to a HIDE or lockdown response.  .
  • Non-securable Location: A location that offers no protection from an attacker. This includes hallways or common spaces that do not have doors that could be secured.  A non-securable location does not deny access and is not conducive to a Hide.

Survival Options

RUN: Initiate a running evacuation when:

  • You have direct contact with the attacker, and/or
  • You cannot lock the attacker out of your location, and/or
  • You have a clear path of escape.

HIDE: Barricade or secure your area to delay the attacker if:

  • You have indirect contact with the attacker; and
  • You can secure the area to prevent the attacker from entering.

FIGHT: As a last resort, when lives are in immediate danger, FIGHT if:

  • You have direct contact; and
  • You CANNOT RUN; and
  • You have fear for loss of life or serious injury

Educators and response agencies must prepare for a new level of response to confront a terrorist takeover situation.  The dynamic nature and commitment of the terrorists requires enhanced plans and training.

RELATED: Schools Must Be Better Prepared for Terrorism

Counter-terrorism experts recognize that terrorists will strike the U.S. again and that our schools are a viable target.  Education and public safety leaders have to learn from previous attacks to prepare for a 9-11 type attack in our schools.  These leaders are faced with these decision-making possibilities:

  • Do nothing and hope nothing happens.
  • Do nothing and it does happen.
  • Do something and nothing happens.
  • Do something and it happens.

Brad Spicer is the founder of SafePlans, a leading provider of all-hazards preparedness solutions including a DHS designated anti-terrorism technology and national active shooter prevention and survival program.

Note: The views expressed by guest bloggers and contributors are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to, Campus Safety magazine.

Photo: ThinkStock

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