Nov. 7, 2017 – In the wake of the nation’s deadliest mass shooting, Brad Spicer, one of the top active shooter defense experts and author of the children’s book, “Teddy is Ready,” offers insight on how parents can talk to their children about active shooters. The full article can be read at: http://teddyisready.com/saferkids/
“Bad people sometimes do horrible things and parents should talk with children to help prepare them for emergencies. Even something as terrible as an active shooter. These discussions are not always easy, but all of us, even kids, are already thinking about it and ignoring the issue is not going to make anyone safer,” explains Brad Spicer, founder of SafePlans and former Missouri Highway Patrol SWAT member and bodyguard for several governors.
Spicer points out that age-appropriateness is the key. “The concept of Stop, Drop, and Roll was developed to help young kids understand what to do if they catch fire. If that concept was presented in graphic or scary way, it would could absolutely terrify a young child. But Stop, Drop and Roll is presented in an age-appropriate manner and it saves lives. It is beyond unfortunate, but we need to expand our educational efforts to include active shooters.”
The first book of its kind, “Teddy is Ready,” takes an all-hazards emergency preparedness approach and has already been endorsed by school safety experts across the country. Based on national best practices, like those outlined by the U.S. Department of Education, FEMA, and the Department of Homeland Security, “Teddy is Ready” is more than a children’s book, it is a training system. The book and Teacher’s Guide address 14 safety issues; including an active shooter.
In the book, when Teddy considers what to do in an emergency, he imagines himself as Captain Ready. This mental visualization helps the child picture a successful response to a situation that might otherwise be a little scary. This association can lessen their anxiety and improve their ability to respond in an actual emergency. The book, and Spicer’s recommendations do not to suggest or illustrate Captain Ready or a child doing anything dangerous.
The Run and Hide are concepts that young children can understand and implement. But the last resort of “Fight” in U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Run, Hide, Fight system is something Spicer says should not be taught to children. “Obviously young people lack the physical ability to effectively fight or ‘counter’ an active shooter and they lack the mental capacity to grasp what is a last resort. The Run and Hide concepts are easy to understand, less traumatic to discuss, very effective and increase safety. The line from ‘Teddy is Ready’ is: ‘Bad people exist, if there is ever a doubt, it is ok to run if you cannot hide out.'”
Spicer explains that the Run and Hide concepts align with “Stranger Danger!” best practices regarding child abductions. “We do not want to focus just in active shooters. Teddy is a super hero, not because of special powers, but because he is ready. As parents, we don’t want or need our kids to be super heroes. We want them to safe and unafraid. Keeping our kids safe is incredibly important and terribly imperfect, but I am confident these age-appropriate strategies can help parents keep their children even safer.”