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Active shooter safety: Local schools prepare for worst

Preparedness is essential for student safety in the case of an active shooter in any school.

“First of all, understand what your school’s emergency operations platform is,” Guy Bliesner, a school safety analyst for the state of Idaho, said. “Be prepared to act on it. Make certain that your staff is prepared to act.”

Bliesner says many school shootings are former students. He says it’s important to pay attention to students and see if they change in any way that could be concerning.

“And by and large, the schools across this area do a fairly good job,” Bliesner said. “Again, what they do the very best job in is that connection with their students.”

Back in October, Ucon Elementary School took preparation a step further. The administration held a drill with deputies shooting inside the school so teachers and students can know what it sounds like.

“One of the lessons that we go with, that we’ve learned through different shootings is, people don’t recognize the sound of gunshots, gun fire inside of a building,” Nathan Downey, a school resource officer for Bonneville School District 93, said. “And so we want to familiarize them with the sounds of firearms.”

They say gunshots can sound like a variety of different things.

“For example, at Bonneville where they have a lot of tile flooring, you drop a book there, it could be really loud,” Downey said. “We’ve shot off 9 millimeters handguns in Bonneville and it sounded like a book dropping. So we want to familiarize them.”

Bliesner says he feels the schools around here are safe and prepared. He also says to watch out for the contagion effect, or the likelihood for another shooting to happen after one takes place. It’s also important that if you hear something that could be a potential threat, or notice someone’s behavior changing in a negative way, to contact someone.

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