What Should You Do If Your Child Care Program Experiences an Active Shooter Threat?

It’s a scary thought, but one that is on many minds as news reports of such events continue. The first 45 days of 2018 have seen 18 school shootings in the United States. The latest being the tragic deaths of 17 individuals at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.

That number is alarming. And while none this year have taken place at early childhood education centers, care providers are still concerned for their children’s safety. How can they be prepared in the event that they experience an active shooter at their facility? Child Care Aware® of America has heard these concerns and is now offering a new emergency preparedness training: Preparing for Active Shooter: Training for Child Care Providers—the first of its kind aimed specifically for child care providers.

While elementary, middle and high schools have been preparing for mass shootings for years, similar training and instruction for child care providers has been non-existent. Simply put, child care providers have been forgotten about when it comes to active shooter planning. However, with this new course, Child Care Aware® of America has begun the conversation around the many challenges of preparing for an active shooter for early childhood providers.

Child Care Aware® of America conducted a pilot of their new training on January 26, 2018 in Arlington, Virginia. Nearly 25 child care providers, with over 300 years of combined experience, attended the training. As each person introduced themselves and explained why they were attending, a theme emerged—everyone knew it was important to be prepared, but were unsure where to start. Grounded in real-world evidence, the training examined the lessons of prior mass shootings and also provided child care providers with tactical methods, hands-on exercises and strategies for responding to an active shooter incident and also developing an individualized active shooter emergency plan.

While no one wants to find themselves caught in the middle of an active shooter scenario, it is something that can and does happen almost daily in the United States. Just as we prepare for hurricanes, floods, tornadoes and earthquakes, we must also prepare for active shooter events.

Are you interested in hosting Child Care Aware® of America’s Training: Preparing for an Active Shooter at your organization? Email us at to discuss setting up a training near you and visit to learn more about emergency preparedness.

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