First Responders’ Crisis Intervention Plan for a Middle School Shooting
The police station receives a report that gunshots have been fired at a local middle school. The initial news is that there are fatalities, and panicked children have called their parents. Now, parents have shown up at the school along with the local media.
Your task as a first responder is to develop a crisis intervention plan. Your plan should include how to do the following:
Determine the cause of the shooting.
Deal with the media and the parents.
Stop the violence before more students get injured or killed.
Your main research source will be your textbook when creating the program for the survivors. You should also use the references listed in this section, or conduct your research using reliable, relevant sources. Whether you agree or disagree with the authors, you must support your argument with reliable material from the provided sources. Also, if you have life experience in this area, you may include this information in your paper.
A crisis intervention plan refers to a series of steps that have been outlined to help people know their roles and the actions to take during a crisis. On the other hand, a crisis is said to be an event that can either produce major harm to people or cause a major disruption in the day-to-day functioning of the institution (Center for Mental Health in Schools at UCLA, 2016). A timely response often makes a significant difference in how the situation plays out and the number of casualties at the end of the day. Unfortunately, school shootings are now common and even anticipated, which is why many schools come up with evacuations and drills. According to the Sandy Hook Promise website, the country has had 1316 shootings since 1970, with 18 percent of those shootings occurring after 2012. Firearms are also said to be the second leading cause of death among American children.
A good crisis intervention plan ensures that different groups of people such as first responders, law enforcement officials, and victim service providers coordinate their activities seamlessly (Office for Victims of Crime, n.d). Typically, the first responders are expected to be first on the scene to help the victims and manage the situation. People that can be considered first responders include EMTs, firefighters, paramedics, and police officers. Therefore, this essay will outline the first responders’ crisis intervention plan for a middle school victim shooting.
The first step would be to determine the cause of the shooting within the school. This information may be obtained from the 911 calls and the calls the children made to their parents. It is essential to look for similarities in these accounts to determine the standard narrative. As panicked people often interpret events based on their fear or position, the versions may differ slightly, but the shooting cause will most likely be described in the same manner. The responders may also talk to any victims who ran away from the school and listen to their accounts of what happened. The information to look out for includes the location of the shooter(s), number of shooters, the number or type of weapons used, and the physical description of the assailant(s). Such information will then be relayed to the law enforcement officials when they arrive. It will help them outline an evacuation plan and what to communicate to the media. (Interagency Security Committee, 2015)
The media is the fastest way that information will be spread about the shooting; therefore, it is crucial to ensure that information that is factual and appropriate is given swiftly to avoid misinformation of the public. It is important to keep the children away from the reporters and any recording devices unless the parent is present. Furthermore, in this particular case, it would be important to call the parents first and update them to ensure that they do not give false information when asked. Finally, when talking to the media, the first responders should provide facts such as the students involved and their ages. They should also outline the steps they have taken to manage the crisis and what they plan on doing until the situation is resolved. Care should be taken to give straightforward answers and avoid going back and forth with the responders. After all of this has been done, the first responders should provide the media with the resources the public can use to provide help to the school. (Center for Mental Health in Schools at UCLA, 2016)
The most important part of the crisis intervention plan would be to stop the violence and minimize the harm caused by the shooter. Ideally, this part of the program should have been communicated to the students as part of their curriculum. They should have been given the steps to take in such situations during school shooter drills. However, at this moment, the first course of action would be to seal off the area and activate a crisis response without causing the victims to panic. The first responders should first evacuate the school whenever possible and save as many victims as they can. If evacuation is not possible, they should advise people to stay out of sight and stay down. They should attempt to contact the shooter without agitating him as this would lead to more casualties. When talking to the shooter, they should maintain a calm demeanor and keep the conversation non-threatening. When speaking about the hostages, they should express concern for them and refer to the shooter victims as people, for example, women, men, children, and girls, as this reinforces the idea that the shooter is harming actual student beings. The most crucial goal here is to keep the situation calm and prevent it from escalating until hostage negotiators arrive on the scene. When the shooter is finally apprehended or brought down, they can now focus on victim recovery and providing medical assistance and counseling to everyone involved in the shooting. (Center for Mental Health in Schools at UCLA, 2016)
As much as school shootings are a topic that is hard to discuss and combat when they do happen, it is better to have a set plan in place that will help first responders act quickly. The primary purpose of a crisis intervention plan is to stop the violence and minimize the number of deaths or casualties on the scene. By following the crisis intervention plan outlined above, this goal will be reached quickly.
16 Facts About Gun Violence And School Shootings — Sandy Hook Promise. Sandy Hook Promise. (2020). Retrieved 21 November 2020, from https://www.sandyhookpromise.org/gun-violence/16-facts-about-gun-violence-and-school-shootings/.
Center for Mental Health in Schools at UCLA. (2016). Responding to a crisis at a school [PDF file]. Retrieved from http://smhp.psych.ucla.edu/pdfdocs/crisis/crisis.pdf
Interagency Security Committee. (2015). Planning and Response to an Active Shooter: An Interagency Security Committee Policy and Best Practices Guide. Report, Department of Homeland Security.
Office for Victims of Crime. (n.d.). Helping victims of mass violence and terrorism: planning, response, recovery, and resources. Retrieved from https://www.ovc.gov/pubs/mvt-toolkit/
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