A false ballistic missile warning sent in Hawaii on Saturday terrified thousands and magnified how few people were prepared to respond.  Many residents reported being shocked hearing a real alert.  Most people had no idea where to go or what to do and were left only to panic.

The incident serves as an important reminder to make sure you have an emergency plan.  

The thought of a missile attack is terrifying with or without an emergency plan in place, but a plan gives concrete steps to follow in the event of a crisis.  Adults and children alike feel more secure and can handle the ensuing panic when they have already contemplated what to do in an emergency.

Do you know what you would you do in a natural disaster, terrorist attack or other major emergency in your city?  Given recent natural disasters, and our changing world climate, emergency preparedness is key.  

It has been proven that imagining and practicing stressful situations can give you the mental confidence to respond and survive.  A few simple steps, such as packing a Go Bag and planning where you will go and how you will communicate, will give your school, business or family the tools you need to stay safe.

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Quick thinking on behalf of elementary school administrators saved the lives of countless children at a Northern California elementary school on Tuesday.  After a bloody rampage through Rancho Tehama where he killed four people, the gunman attacked the local elementary school.

Local officials report that after he killed four people at several sites the gunman tried to get into the Rancho Tehama Elementary School.  He had a semi-automatic rifle and two handguns in his possession.

 The AP reported that workers heard shots being fired and immediately initiated a lockdown that saved lives.

School officials say that the gunman crashed his vehicle through the school’s locked gate and fired dozens of shots on the campus — he shot out windows and through walls.

Jeanine Quist, an administrative assistant with the Corning Union Elementary School District, says no one was killed at the Rancho Tehama Elementary School Monday morning but a “number” of students were shot and wounded.

Tehama County Assistant Sheriff Phil Johnston stated that it was “monumental” that school workers took the action they did and that it resulted in saving the lives of countless children.

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On September 13th, 2017 one student died and three others were injured in a shooting at Freeman High School near Spokane, WA.   The day before the shooting, students and staff had practiced a lockdown drill.

The Spokane sheriff says the shooter, a high school student, was stopped by a school employee who prevented an even greater tragedy.  The Associated Press reports that this school employee was a custodian.

It now appears that the shooter, identified as Caleb Sharpe, had posted videos to YouTube where he shot toy guns and pretended to shoot a friend, reports CBS News’ Mireya Villarreal.

The Spokesman-Review reports that the suspect rode the school bus Wednesday morning.  Authorities report that he had both a pistol and rifle with him in a duffle bag.

15-year old sophomore student Michael Harper told the Associated Press that Sharpe was obsessed with past school shootings and had brought notes to school saying he might be jailed or killed and that some students had alerted counsellors.

On April 10, 2017, a murder-suicide inside a San Bernardino Elementary School classroom tragically led to the death of an eight year old boy and his teacher, according to San Bernardino Police.  The shooter, 53-year old Cedric Anderson, was the husband of Karen Smith, his intended victim.  Police say they were recently estranged.  

According to witnesses, Anderson entered the classroom where Smith taught 15 special needs students from first through fourth grade, pulled out a firearm and shot Smith before turning the gun on himself.  Eight year old Jonathan Martinez and another nine year old boy were standing behind Smith and were also shot.  Martinez died of his injuries and the other child is hospitalized in stable condition.  

Anderson was known to school staff.  In fact, police chief Jarrod Burguan explained that, “ he entered the office and he had simply said that he was there to drop something off for his wife.”  

The approximately 500 students of North Park Elementary were evacuated to Cajon High School.  Many of the parents speaking to news outlets stated that they heard of the shooting via the news media and rushed to the scene.  Other anguished parents gathered outside the high school waiting for news of their children.  

One parent asked why he was not sent a text message or given any information.  Another parent stated that she received a robo-call from the school about an emergency after the story broke over the news.  She said that there was no answer when she called the school.

This incident serves as an important reminder that schools must be prepared for any crisis situation.  So often emphasis is placed on the violent stranger but tragically, violence can also strike from within the school community.  Images of parents desperate for news of their children also underscores the need for schools to have a comprehensive crisis communication plan in place and be prepared to rapidly put the plan into action.

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On March 30, Greenwich High School in Greenwich, CT went into lockdown for several hours after the discovery of a specific threat scrawled on a restroom wall.  

When the lockdown was initiated, students reported initial panic in the hallways, with people screaming and running in different directions.  Students quickly sheltered in classrooms and other safe areas as authorities conducted an investigation.  Though thankfully only a threat, this incident serves as a reminder that every school must have in place a well planned and practiced crisis response protocol.

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