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Bigger Risk: Fire or School Shooter?

The Indianapolis Star had an article recently about measuring risk and keeping our kids safe while at school. School safety has certainly been in the spotlight ever since the February shooting in Parkland, Florida. Lawmakers have introduced a school safety bill that would allow Indiana schools to keep students in their rooms and barricade doors for a short time after an unplanned fire alarm. 

The purpose is to give schools more time, up to three minutes, to investigate the source of the alarm and ensure it's not actually an active shooter situation. In the Parkland case, the shooter pulled the fire alarm and opened fire on students and teachers as they attempted to evacuate. This is the fifth school shooting in the U.S. where a fire alarm was triggered.

Bigger School Risk.pngIndiana fire and school officials have largely endorsed this new approach named House Bill 1230. But others have raised concerns about the transparency of the special session in general. The Indianapolis Star states that House Bill 1230 is a school safety bill with provisions pertaining to everything from human trafficking prevention training to school safety plan audits.

"In theory, it seems as if that thought process would be a sensible solution to the unpredictability and unknown of a suspected or active shooter," said Indianapolis Fire Department Battalion Chief Rita Reith. "However, if indeed it was a fire, three minutes can totally make a difference, and depending on the specifics regarding the fire, a three-minute delay can easily be a deadly solution."

This is a choice schools must weigh these days. Is the bigger danger from a fire or an active shooter? This decision could open the school up to liability or negligence.

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