Don Shomette

People are the Prize

Fire Drills: The Model for Preventing School Attacks

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“Why do we have so many fire drills each year? We haven’t had a major fire inside a school in a very long time.”

I get this sentiment completely and it makes perfect sense, but there’s another way of looking at it.

Fire is still a serious threat. That hasn’t changed and never will, but how we view fire has changed greatly. We no longer fear it as we once did because, over the decades, we’ve greatly enhanced our ability to prevent fire by implementing effective procedures, creating better fire-resistant building materials, redesigning schools to stop or limit the spread of fire, and instituting a mindset of fire prevention in our students, teachers, and staff members. If you’re getting tired and bored with doing fire drills, that’s not by accident. In fact, it’s exactly how you’re supposed to feel at this stage of the game.

Try to think of it this way.

We had a serious problem that was a very real threat. We worked the problem, faced it head-on, implemented and re-implemented new prevention efforts until we got it right, and now, we’re enjoying the fruits of our diligence.

This is a huge win!

Don’t get bored or tired with fire drills, celebrate the fact that we worked together to mitigate what once was a terrible threat into something that we no longer fear. At least not like we used to.

We also have a concrete example that we can follow. Let’s take this successful model and apply it to preventing the school attack. That’s our serious problem and it’s a very real threat. So, let’s work the problem, face it head-on, and implement and re-implement new prevention efforts until we get it right.

Let’s quickly get to the day that we’re bored with doing lockdown drills…

With the start of a new school year, everyone’s required to conduct a series of mandatory fire drills in quick succession. During each fire drill, let it be a reminder of how far we’ve come and what great things we can do when we work diligently to solve a problem. We should—we must—do the same in preventing violence and the school attack.

We were successful in limiting the threat of fire, we can have the same success in limiting the threat of school attacks.

Author: Don Shomette

Don Shomette is a trainer, speaker, consultant, and owner of People are the Prize, a violence prevention company that helps people to prevent and survive a school attack. He has spent a lifetime working with police officers and principals and is consistently evaluated by those who attend his trainings as one of the best instructors ever. Don challenges, entertains, and helps school personnel to think of preventing violence in a new and positive way.

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