Officials with Texas State's Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training or ALERRT said they worked with first responders at Santa Fe ISD within the last year.
ALERRT said Santa Fe ISD officers participated in two different kinds of classes, an active shooter response training course and a civilian response to an active shooter course. The latter is a class that officers can then teach to students and staff so they are prepared for an active shooter situation.
There are three ways ALERRT teaches civilians to prepare for an active shooter situation.
“If the option you've chosen fails, then you need to be prepared to take another action to try and protect yourself,” said Dr. Pete Blair, ALERRT executive director.
The first option is to get out.
“So we always point out situational awareness, paying attention to what's going on around you, knowing where your exists are, and, if something starts to happen, trying to leave at the first possible opportunity,” Blair said.
If leaving is not safe, Blair said a lockdown could save lives.
“Locking down in your room, closing the door, locking the door, getting away from any windows so they can't see you in general is a pretty good response,” said Blair.
If all else fails and an attacker is able to get through the locked door, Blair said it's best to fight back.
“Position yourself in a way that if that person does get into the room, you have a chance to turn it into a wrestling match instead of a shooting,” Blair said.
One thing Blair said students and staff should try to avoid is pulling a fire alarm to warn others of a shooter. “If you pull that fire alarm, people think fire and the first response people have to fire is to exit the classroom and go in the hallway, and that might put them in a situation where they're exposed to the gunman,” said Blair.
CEO of Safeguard Systems Mike Jacobs said he has created a cellphone application that connects teachers and students with law enforcement in the case of an emergency.
“When I looked at the fire alarm systems that are existing today in schools and I recognized how quickly a firefighter is able to go to a panel and see exactly where the trouble is coming from, I wondered why we didn't have that for law enforcement,” Jacobs said.
The Safeguard OES app provides an exact location on a map to first responders. That way as soon as someone sends an alert, officers can see which classroom that person is in and what they need help with. Jacobs said the system is already installed in schools in California, Oregon and Washington.
Recently, a school district in Texas reached out to learn more about it, but it hasn't been installed there yet. ALERRT said such an application could be helpful, but it's still important to know what to do until officers arrive.
“The faster officers know what's going on, where people are and where the problem is, the better it is, but you can't rely on just that one thing to do that,” Blair said.
ALERRT said the more prepared a person is for a crisis situation, the better his/her odds of survival.
The organization said they learn from every shooting that occurs and update best practices accordingly.