School Shootings on the Rise
The 21st century has already seen more deaths and injuries in its first 18 years than in the entirety of the 20th century. At the time of writing, at least 13 separate incidents had occurred, causing at least 66 deaths and 81 injuries. In the 20th century, there were far more injuries, but only 55 deaths due to school shootings. The demographic of the shooters has also changed – now a school shooter is more likely to be an adolescent rather than an intruder. Researchers attributed the rise in school violence to a variety of factors, including easier access to guns for adolescents, mental health, and a lack of skills in conflict resolution.
Preventing more tragedies from happening should be a priority, but even with preventative measures in place, it’s vital to be prepared for the worst. A robust emergency communication system is more important than ever to protect staff and students and to save lives. During an emergency, one method of communication often isn’t enough to convey information to those who need it. Multiple methods of communication can provide different information to different groups of people at the same time, from teachers and students in different buildings to notifying parents and emergency responders.
Mass shootings aren’t exclusive to schools, either, and every organization should be prepared. There have also been more public shootings in recent years, including the one in Las Vegas. Having a plan for emergency situations and an emergency notification system to communication instructions to everyone involved is unfortunately necessary. In public locations, texts and other forms of private communication wouldn’t be able to reach most people, but audio/visual PA could still provide the necessary information and instructions. While improved communication can’t prevent emergencies from happening, it can help make the best of emergency situations when they occur.