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Newtown school shooting: 3 things I’ll be doing

After suppressing the urge to gather up my children, I refocused my energy towards active shooter preparedness

This morning as I read about the unfolding events in Newtown, Conn. I had a strong urge to drive to my children’s school, drive them home, and hold them 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.

Greg Friese, MS, NRP, is the Lexipol Editorial Director, leading the efforts of the editorial team on Police1, FireRescue1, Corrections1 and EMS1. Greg served as the EMS1 editor-in-chief for five years. He has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a master’s degree from the University of Idaho. He is an educator, author, national registry paramedic since 2005, and a long-distance runner. Greg was a 2010 recipient of the EMS 10 Award for innovation. He is also a three-time Jesse H. Neal award winner, the most prestigious award in specialized journalism, and the 2018 and 2020 Eddie Award winner for best Column/Blog. Connect with Greg on LinkedIn.