Recently I’ve been getting asked a lot about youth sports programs and coward shooters. In case you’re not familiar with our naming convention yet, we refer to “active shooters” as coward shooters- because that’s what they are.
I digress, parents, school administrators, and youth sports programs supervisors are concerned about the safety of these kids trying to live positive and happy lives. They are worried someone from the outside might view them as a vulnerable target and inflict massive harm and tragedy by opening up fire at a sporting event.
So, I have designed framework specifically designed around keeping kids safe while attending youth sports programs.
Keep in mind, this is a responsive framework, not a preventative one. Unfortunately, external coward shooter threats are a much larger problem at whole, however, by controlling what we can (our response to external coward shooters), we can keep ourselves as safe as possible in these rare, but very real situations.
In order to keep youth sports as safe as possible we must concentrate our efforts and focus on providing a training framework for the on-site leadership of the youth sports programs- the coaches and youth mentors.
A couple questions that also need answering are:
– What do we want to train them on?
– How do we train them?
– How do we test/ certify them?
While all of these are very valid points I’m going to briefly focus on the, What do we train them on answers.
Here is a small list and guide framework on what we should be training our youth mentors and supervisors on.
Also bear in mind, you must hire an expert at this stuff! Not just anyone otherwise the effects will be even more catastrophic in the event of a tragedy.
We hear about “situational awareness all the time, but what does that really mean? It means breaking down 3-types of Potentially Harmful Behaviors (PHBs).
By teaching people how to identify these specific Potentially Harmful Behaviors we are giving everyone on site a frame of reference as to what exactly it is they should be on the lookout for, how they can confirm it, and what they do to intervene properly so it doesn’t make a scene.
Knowing how to stop a bleed, provide effective CPR, or handle a heat casualty is just great knowledge to know for life in general. Giving the program supervisors the ability to perform these skills pays a lot more dividends than just in times of crisis.
If they already are certified, then great, let’s take that training up to the next level! You can never go too hard when training for first aid especially when it has so many ancillary benefits to an organization’s kid safety.
4 Cardinal Direction Rally Locations
Due to the dynamic nature of coward shooter incidents, it is important that we have places to go in each cardinal direction. Having pre-designated rally locations about 200-500 yards away from the field the youth sports are being used on is critical, so our kids know where to go when they get separated from their group and coaches.
I know what you’re thinking… Only 200 yards away? Yes, that CAN serve as a very effective distance for a rally location. Not always, but sometimes.
Public Message To Parents On What To Do If They Get Notified Of A Tragedy
Having a public affairs message to send out to the parents is imperative to prepare, respond, and recover from a tragedy.
Inform the parents that you have a great plan in place, that you consulted with an expert, and that they should do x,y, and z if they are ever notified of a tragedy. Not only will you make the parents feel good about the proactive measures you are taking, but they will also have a very specific set of instructions on what to do if ever notified of a tragedy which will contribute to everyone’s safety.
Informing parents and stakeholders about incidents as they are unfolding is incredibly important to everyone’s safety. How do we accomplish this? It’s easier said than done.
Since cell phone towers can only pass so much information at once, it’s important to have contingencies in place to notify anyone who may have a loved one on site. Not only will this give clear guidance to stay away, but it will also let them know where they need to go to reunite with their loved ones.
Having efficient accountability protocols in place can save lives. Giving your team the ability to take roll call proficiently can literally save the life of anyone wounded and out of sight.
However, there is a specific way this gets done so that there is no one left behind.
Some people might suggest this is controversial… Firearms training for coward shooter preparedness?!?
And my answer is yes…
There are many reasons behind this but just to hit the wavetops…
Firearms training educates people on how they work, their effective ranges, gives them the confidence to handle one if they get a hold of it, and it also just allows us to think more clearly under times of confusion and stress.
Knowing how to handle firearms is a very precise skill that requires clarity of thought while being a little nervous. Fortunately, this is easy to develop and it ultimately will pay huge benefits if chaos ever strikes at one of your events.
The Southern Cross Safety Formula
What we believe is the number 1 thing you can be teaching your staff and mentors about coward shooters is, The Southern Cross Safety Formula.
Distance = Time = Safety
When caught in a coward shooter incident you must remember this. The farther you get away from the shooter, and the more time you can offset yourself from the shooters time at a location then the safer you will be!
Get far away, fast, and stay far away from the shooter and they cannot shoot you!
However, when corralling kids with you along the way, it must be done very specifically to maximize everyone’s safety.
This is a quick framework and not an in depth solution. I leave a lot of questions open and on the table here, but this is designed just to give you a very basic idea of what to consider when creating an emergency preparedness program for coward shooter’s at a youth sports event.
Take care, stay safe, and Always Be Kind!