The experts are still assessing the shooting at the elementary school in Newtown, CT and our hearts and prayers go out to the families who lost their precious children.
While the authorities gather additional information, the ongoing lesson of active shooter situations is the need for access control (for ideas see Sample Building Access Policies and Procedures from the JCRC-NY). An adequately locked door, coupled with a screening system that limits access to authorized individuals, is the best way to keep people safe.
DHS, NY DHSES and the JCRC-NY will host trainings on armed intruder attacks in January and February. Here are some other resources to assist you in developing active shooter responses:
- The New York State Department of Education has mandated that all school districts implement emergency response plans, which were updated in April 2003 to address terrorist threats. The plans require schools to interact with local law enforcement and emergency service providers. Please see New York State Homeland Security System for Schools.
- Review the NYPD’s publications, Active Shooter: Recommendations and Analysis for Risk Mitigation for recommendations and analysis for risk mitigation in active shooter scenarios and the presentation: Response to an Active Shooter.
Jerusalem Post: Gunman opens fire outside Ozar Hatorah school before fleeing the scene on scooter; teacher and two of his children among dead, several wounded; Jewish official: This was an anti-Semitic attack.
JTA: A man riding a motorbike reportedly opened fire outside the Ozar Hatorah School, where students were waiting to enter the building at the start of the school day. The shooter then entered the building shooting at students and teachers. He then fled on his motorbike.
Haaretz: French prosecutor Michel Valet said Monday that those killed were a 30-year-old man and his 3-year-old and 6-year-old sons. He said another child, between 8 and 10 years old, was also killed, and a 17-year-old seriously wounded.
See also Jerusalem Post: “… a coalition of jihadist organizations have made a decision to attack Israeli and Jewish targets wherever they may be without distinction. “They attack whoever they can and wherever security is lax”.
- Access control. Until we know more, schools should consider asking students and staff to come inside the building rather than assembling outside. Our standard recommendation that no unauthorized person should be allowed to enter a Jewish institution (see our sample access control procedures here).
- Secure doors. Many organizations are thinking about their Nonprofit Security Grant applications. This tragic attack reminds us about the importance of high impact doors that can withstand an attack from a determined intruder.
- Lockdowns. Do you have a plan to “lockdown” your building and its occupants to keep them safe in the event on an active shooter? See the JCRC Active Shooter Page.
- Security awareness. Although there is no indication of any threat here in New York, it is a time for heightened awareness. Trust your instincts. If you see something…say something. Terrorist acts and other attacks are often preceded by active surveillance of a target location; learn how to detect hostile surveillance before an incident occurs. See tips from our partners at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice.