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Everyday EMS
by Greg Friese

Newtown school shooting: 3 things I'll be doing

After suppressing the urge to gather up my children, I refocused my energy towards the following

By Greg Friese, EMS1 Editor-in-Chief

This morning as I read about the unfolding events in Newtown, Connecticut I had a strong urge to drive to my children's school, drive them home, and hold the close. From my location in Wisconsin I am thousands of miles from Connecticut and the mall in Clackamas, Oregon where another shooting happened earlier this week.

After suppressing the urge to gather up my children, I refocused my energy towards the following:

1. Sending my best wishes to first responder friends in Connecticut. It is a small state and chances are good they are personally affected or have close friends or family that are. My friend, paramedic, and educator Rommie Duckworth replied, "I think that first responders understand that every incident like this is local to someone. Thank you for thinking of us."

2. Planning reminders to my children's teachers, principal, and local law enforcement that nothing is more important to me than my children's safety when they are at school. Every school needs to imagine how a mass shooting would play out in their hallways and classrooms. After visualizing that catastrophe actions need to be taken to clearly identify risks, mitigate those risks, and conduct collaborative and regular training that involves fire, police, EMS, as well as teachers, children, and parents.

3. I will be spending time this weekend teaching my kids more about guns, gun safety, and how to respond if they see a gun in school or when playing with a friend. I want my kids to be able to recognize different types of guns, understand different uses of guns, and know what guns sound like. We are going to watch the Run. Hide. Fight. video and discuss, just like we pre-plan a home fire evacuation, what they are to do if they hear gunfire in school or see a shooter in the hallway.

Finally, no community is immune from a tragedy like this. I believe we have a responsibility to prepare ourselves and our families.

About the author

Greg Friese is Editor-in-Chief of He is an educator, author, paramedic, and marathon runner. Ask questions or submit tip ideas to Greg by e-mailing him at
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