Friday, teachers and staff from the Altoona Area School District (AASD) participated in an active shooter training.
State police say on average, active shooter situations only last about 10-15 minutes, so it’s important for teachers to know what to do and act quickly.
“An active shooter will strike again,” said Lt. John Yunk, the PSP domestic security operations commander. “There’s really not necessarily a safe place anymore.”
This was the second planned training for AASD staff and teachers this year.
“We rely on the teachers. They’re our eyes and ears for the police dept. here at the AASD. They encounter and come in contact with kids on an everyday basis and they know the kids better than we do,” said Bill Pfeffer, director of the AASD police services.
During the presentation, police used real-life examples of other mass shootings to teach warning signs: like multiple absences from school, repeated rule-breaking and isolation.
Police emphasized the importance of acting in dangerous situations, not just reacting.
“We do practice lockdown drills. We do practice stay put alerts throughout the course of the calendar year at every respective school in the school district, but we need to get better,” said Pfeffer.
Three ways to respond during an active shooter attack are to run, hide, or fight.
“Knowing that, if it comes down to this, you can do something because your life or somebody else’s life may depend on it,” said Lt. Yunk.
Next week, AASD police will host an active shooter training for junior high school students.
Blair County schools will also launch a Safe School Hotline in March.