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Piecemeal Approach to Active Shooter Security

A Superintendent of a school system announced the school district’s policy of equipping each classroom with a 5-gallon bucket of “river rocks”. These rocks are about the size of a baseball and, if properly used, is certainly “better than nothing”. What else comes to mind? Maybe, it is a bad idea to come to a gunfight with a rock? One thought is, if the active shooter was ever a student at that school, he would know about the rocks and could easily come dressed with baseball catcher protective equipment to reduce the rocks impacts (just like professional baseball catchers who do not want to end their careers from being hit by a pitch or foul tip). Or, maybe beside that 5-gallon bucket of rocks, should be a 5-gallon bucket of water and a 5-gallon bucket of sand to fight fires? Probably in the very beginning, the solution to school fires was a bucket of water and a bucket of sand but wisdom and technology soon provided a better solution by being more efficient and safer but at an additional cost.

So, why is “Active Shooter” plans not forward-looking for the same effort and maybe for less cost (than fire protection)? First, a lot of plans seem to address the last event or only one scenario as if all active shooter events will follow that pattern. The news channels carry complete coverage and mention quite often that the survivors were lucky because if the shooter did this or did that, the death toll would be much higher. So, the next evil person decides to do better, play one-upsmanship, or a different approach altogether. This makes security planning difficult. The professional security planners develop several possible scenarios, then list the methods and requirements to slow down, reduce target acquisition or channeling of bad guy into a controlled area without any targets. Each scenario will have many layers and planners should then develop the sequence of events if this method or requirement is overcome, by-passed or not applicable. Then looking at all the scenarios, there should be some tactics, techniques or procedures (TTPs) that are common to all scenarios. These common TTPs should be pursued.

Some procedures will only be a delay, such as a locked door. An reinforced door system including a upgraded components for door, frame, hinges, locks and side structure to the door frame will be much more difficult to overcome. Police shows on TV have been showing how to overcome a barricade door quickly for over 40 years, especially with shotguns or rifles.

A safe room for either active shooter or tornado is a smaller area to reinforce, more difficult if not impossible to breach, while providing the identified level of protection. Building additions and modifications require a large amount of planning, engineering, costs, scheduling limitations and possibly environmental impact or other major construction studies/estimates/plans.

The VAST6, by design, provides all security protection requirements first and foremost. This means went all else fails, personnel inside VAST6 will be safe. Second, it was designed to go into existing classrooms as a retro-fit with fast installation to reduce the impact of scheduling and major construction. The collapsible capability reduces its footprint to about 2% of the classroom area when not in use. It is also economically feasible for new structures as the additional of 60 square feet (3 feet by 20 feet) for a 30 person shelter at standard floorplan costs vice the safe room reinforcement costs. And, if demographics change or building gets repurposed, the VAST6 can be recovered and reinstalled at another location. It is time for the wisdom and technology to provide a better and more secure efficient solution at an additional but reasonable cost vice the band-aid piecemeal final solution.

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Find out more about the VAST6 and how it can protect the most important part of out lives...our children!