Church, school leaders train with police to prepare for mass shootings

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GLENVIEW, Ill. -- A week ago Wednesday, 17 lives were lost in Parkland, Fla., when a gunman entered a high school and opened fire.

In the wake of that tragedy, schools everywhere are rethinking their mass shooting emergency plans.

Northfield Township includes about 150,000 people largely in suburban Northbrook and Glenview. This month, 50 people were invited to attend a first-of-its-kind mass shooting training session. It was the first because law enforcement, the school superintendent, park districts employees and church leaders were all under one roof to be trained at the same time.

They were trained on what to do, and how to do it when a mass shooter opens up on a school in their area. The goal was to get all the groups to speak the same language and to move in unison when someone opens fire.

District 27 hired Tier One Tactical Solutions to train local churches, park districts, private and public school leaders and even the school district’s superintendent on what to do when an armed gunman enters a local school.

The average response time to an active shooter scene is three minutes, and statistics show that a person dies every 15 seconds during that time. But lives can be saved during that time as well.

“It is the first time that it has been done. And the import of doing this is we can now provide mutual aid to each other,” said David Kroeze, District 27 superintendent.

Northbrook Chief of Police Roger Adkins said until first responders arrive, victims at the scene play the most critical role.

“(They) are the first responder until we arrive,” Chief Adkins said. “Everybody has it in them. Everybody can be prepared and protect themselves.”

Tier One said on average, four victims die every minute at an active shooter scene, and it takes professional first responders roughly three minutes to get there. They start each training with the four Es: Education, Evade, Escape and Engage the shooter.

The fourth E is when the drills begin. Skilled instructors, all current police officers, create hands-on scenarios so the designated few can learn what to do, then teach staff at their respective offices, schools or houses of worship.

Instructors staged between four and five active intruder scenarios during a particular day’s training and put pupils to the test. Their reaction time, their instant reflexes and their preparedness are all tested. The group also was schooled on triage, a sad, but growing reality for schools. CPR, packing an open bullet wound and applying a tourniquet are covered.

Tier One said it is too early to know what the Parkland school did right or wrong during last week’s shooting. This is rightfully still a mourning period. But the rights and wrongs will be explored and investigated.

More information on Tier One on their website.