U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

School Safety: Familiarity of Emergency Response Personnel With School Campuses and Facilities

NCJ Number
Date Published
September 2012
3 pages
Exercises and incident-after action reports (AARs) indicate that the familiarity of emergency personnel with school facilities and campuses is important for effective responses to active-shooter incidents.
This lesson is bolstered by a review of two active-shooter incidents on school campuses and analyses of effective responses to these incidents. In 2006, Platte Canyon Sheriff's deputies responded to an active-shooter incident at Platte Canyon High School. Deputies' familiarity with the school layout as well as with students and staff facilitated obtaining and effectively using critical information about the location of the shooter and strategic response planning. The deputies had visited the school regularly prior to the incident, and they had participated in school programs. In addition, the deputies held regular meetings with school personnel and students. The response to an active-shooter incident at the University of Texas in Austin benefited from prior multi-agency regional active-shooter training and drills sponsored by the University of Texas Police Department (UTPD). This training contributed to an effective and thorough response, which included a building-by-building search in response to mistaken reports of the presence of a second shooter on campus. Thus, the AARs indicate that maintaining the familiarity of emergency response persons with school facilities and campus layout is essential preparation for an efficient and effective response to an active shooter anywhere on campus. 5 citations