The tragic events in Newtown, CT are, sadly, another reminder of just how vulnerable we are to these kinds of attacks in our communities. The massacre in Newtown is the third active shooter incident at a school in 2012. In February, a 17-year-old Chardon, Ohio high school student murdered three students who were sitting in the school’s cafeteria. In April, a former nursing student opened fire at Oikos University in East Oakland, CA, killing seven people.
Schools, malls, movie theaters – places that are part of our everyday lives, our children’s lives – have proven to be easily accessible to assailants with an agenda. Nowhere are we truly safe anymore. A community’s preparedness and organization when a mass shooting occurs is essential to the least number of causalities possible.
In the spring of 2009, the community of Martha’s Vineyard came together to participate in a training film, titled Active Shooter: Rapid Response. The film, designed for law enforcement, fire departments, EMS, emergency management, facilities and others who may become involved with a mass shooting incident, brought together almost eighty people, including students, teachers, law enforcement, firefighters, and emergency medical personnel from all over the island. A good portion of the filming was done on location at the Martha's Vineyard Regional High School.
It was the Virginia Tech massacre that inspired us to create the film. Having family members who were graduates of the school, we took a special interest in the tragedy. We saw that the school was not prepared to deal with an incident like that and we expected that this was true of schools around the country.
Emergency Film Group has been producing emergency response training films for 30 years and began this project just as we do all our projects - by hiring a committee of subject matter experts to guide them in developing the script. And the community’s endorsement of the project contributed greatly to the film’s success.
Active Shooter: Rapid Response covers the key topics in preparing for and responding to a mass shooting. The film also offers guidance for school officials and emergency operation centers. Organizations of all kinds, in 39 states and abroad, are using the film to prepare - often showing the film to start an exercise involving schools and the emergency response community. To learn more, read here. . .