Phoenix instructor helps school districts prepare for an active shooter

PHOENIX, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) – The horrific school shooting in Texas is another reminder of the dangers our students, teachers and staff face. Yet, they prepare for that reality on a daily basis. “It’s evacuate, barricade, and fight, so just depending, it’s age-specific,” Joe Deedon said.

That’s the mantra Deedon teaches. After responding to two school shootings in 2006 and 2007 in Colorado, he knew districts needed to be better prepared. So he started the company TAC ONE Consulting.

In an active shooter situation, Deedon said seconds matter. Police and paramedics train for it. They say to ensure schools are prepared is a critical component. “They happen so quickly; how can we beat that race against the clock,” he explained.

Deedon said elementary schools like the one in Texas where Tuesday’s tragedy unfolded are especially vulnerable. “They’re the most porous. They’re the softest target; if you look at their physical security, usually it isn’t as tough or stringent as a middle school or high school,” he explained.

If you think training kids at that age is too young, he had this response. “A 5th grader will tell you point-blank, it’s so no one shoots us,” Deedon said. “The actual casualties in a small square footage of the building, but if we can evacuate 90 percent of the building within the first 30 seconds, it’s better for everybody,” he continued.

For elementary schools, the focus is on evaluating if they can barricade themselves. As a result, he said schools are better prepared today than 5 or 10 years ago.

The shooting weighs heavy on Valley parents. “We send kids to school because we think it’s a safe place for them,” Margaret Randle, a grandparent, said. Another parent also weighted in on the tragic situation. “That’s probably my biggest concern, sending them to a school and wondering if it could happen to me,” said Michael Contreras, a parent.

His 10-year-old son, Marcos, explains what a lockdown drill is like. “They close all the doors; on the announcements, they say close the doors because something is going on,” he said.

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