Contact: Jessica Hull / Communications and Public Relations Officer 831.784.4245 (o), 209.679.4858 (c)
Salinas, Calif. – In response to the large number of mass shootings nationwide, the Monterey County Office of Education (MCOE), is collaborating with all its school districts, Monterey County Office of Emergency Services (OES), Monterey County Sherriff’s Office and law enforcement agencies countywide, to provide a common sense approach to crisis response. These partners are developing standardized practices to train teachers, students, and school staff, on how to respond in the event of an active shooter.
The practice of duck/cover/hold has shown to be ineffective in mass shooting situations and has resulted in mass casualties. The current approach being taught across Monterey County and the nation instructs those in this type of an emergency to use common sense in determining their course of action. Training teaches a combination of communication skills, counter-measures and proper evacuation techniques. Responders are taught a method of determining their best actions depending on the proximity of the shooter(s). This method is known ALICE –Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter-Measures, Escape or Evacuate.
“This training enables staff and students to make informed decisions when faced with an active shooter,” said Dr. Nancy Kotowski, County Superintendent. “Like earthquake and fire drills, it is also critical to conduct active shooter training scenarios to ensure the safety of all at each of our campuses.”
Joshua Jorn, Executive Director of General Services for MCOE, has assisted all school districts within the county to implement these standards. “Districts have conducted table-top scenario training following the ALICE technique,” he said. “Their next steps will be to lead ALICE trainings with school sites to change past practices and establish new responses, proven to improve the likelihood of survival during an attack.”
Partnering with the Salinas Police Department and OES, a half-day training took place today, January 6, 2017, where active shooter and hostage scenarios were conducted in real-time on the MCOE Main Campus. The exercise and ALICE training has been led by M.C. Kimball and Associates, LLC, a California-based professional safety training service. Michael C. Kimball, Director of Training and Consulting said, “Preparation is key. Today’s litmus test is an invaluable tool for preparing and enhancing the safety of those we care about and work with.” Sergeant Danny Warner with Salinas Police Department said, “The Salinas Police Department is fully-engaged in supporting schools to be prepared for emergency situations.”
OES has been working with MCOE and district representatives to consistently train and implement this new standard response to emergency scenarios. Dick Bower, Emergency Services Planner with OES, said “OES is proud to have spearheaded the collaboration of first-responders and educators focusing on standardizing crisis response training and planning. Our focus is to build resiliency within the county in responding to a catastrophic incident.”
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