K-12 Active Shooter Defense: SAFE versus Standard Response Protocol

safeclearSafePlans’ Security Awareness For Educators or SAFE is an active shooter prevention and survival program that was specifically designed to align K-12 school with national best practices. Standard Response Protocol (SRP) is a program that attempts to standardized terminology and actions associated with emergencies.

 

All-Hazards

SAFE training addresses all five areas of Preparedness as they relate to human based threats. These five areas are: Prevention, Protection, Mitigation, Response and Recovery. SAFE is designed to compliment existing all-hazards emergency plans.


Best Practice

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SAFE follows national active shooter defense best practices.

SAFE uses Survival Options as recommended by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Department of Education, FEMA and the Department of Justice.
These Survival Options are outlined in FEMA’s 2013 “Guide for Developing High Quality School Emergency Operations Plan.”

 

SRP is not in line with current active shooter response best practices.

Terminology

SRP uses the following terms to account for school emergencies: Lockout, Lockdown. Evacuate, Shelter.  During an emergency, “lockdown” and “lockout” are easily confused and not plain language instructions.  Further, SRP depends heavily on top down notification, a concept that failed Sandy Hook Elementary.

SAFE empowers all staff to respond immediately to a dangerous situation and emphasizes the use of plain language during an emergency.  Terms like “Lockout” and “Lockdown” not only sound familiar, under stress people may not be able to differentiate their meaning.   For an actual active shooter-type attack, SAFE trains staff to use plan language to describe the situation so people can determine their best options.

For non-active shooter-type threats, SAFE encourages the use of “Heightened Security” measures over code phrases like “Lockout.” The phrase “Heightened Security” better defines the situation and will not be confused with an actual active shooter attack. For non-human threat like fire and severe weather, SAFE integrates with the schools existing all-hazards emergency plans.

Prevention

SAFE integrates situational awareness for staff, the role of physical security in schools and predicting violent behavior (threat assessment) into a comprehensive prevention strategy.

SRP does not address prevention.

Active Shooter Survival Options

SAFE uses Survival Options as recommended by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Department of Education, FEMA and the Department of Justice.   These Survival Options are outlined in FEMA’s 2013 “Guide for Developing High Quality School Emergency Operations Plan.”   SAFE does not recommend the training of K-12 students in the Fight or Defend option.

 SRP is reliant upon the lockdown concept to compartmentalize students and staff from an active shooter or active killer. The problem with this approach is a lockdown does not help the people who are at the greatest risk. These are the people who have direct contact with the attacker and those in areas that cannot be secured.

 

 

  SAFE SRP
All-hazards Compatible Yes No
National Best Practice No No
FEMA, Dept. of Homeland Security & U.S. Department of Education endorsed options. Yes No
Uses Plain Language Yes No

 

Contact SafePlans to learn more about SAFE and how active shooter defense can be integrated into your existing all-hazards emergency plans.