YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WYTV) – The Florida shooting Wednesday afternoon is now the sixth that happened in a U.S. school since January 1. It’s an unfortunate reality that every time something as tragic as this happens, it forces local law enforcement to take another look at its contingency plan regarding mass shootings — whether it be in our schools, businesses or restaurants.
In the event of a mass shooting, every school across the Valley and nation has a plan to lock down and evacuate.
“Run, hide, fight. Do whatever they need to do. State law actually requires to have this type of plan together for every school,” said Mahoning County Sheriff’s Deputy Jeff Saluga.
Saluga said a lot of that plan depends heavily on the schools’ resource officers.
“It’s a big help if something was to take place in the school. Hopefully, they’re at the right place and the right time to take care of the situation, and limit as much damage that could happen as quickly as they possibly can.”
In an active shooter situation, Saluga said there are many steps that each department responding to the call has to make with each passing minute.
“Accountability — who’s where, who’s doing what. It’s just very overwhelming and so hard to explain what would take place at that time.”
This includes coordination between officers that are both inside and outside of the school, oftentimes dealing with family members who are already overcome with emotion.
Once the situation is over, law enforcement’s job still isn’t done.
“There has to be a certain amount of people that go through the school from top to bottom to make sure that everyone is accounted for,” Saluga said.
He said even though it’s something no one ever wants to think about, you need to be prepared.
“It’s something that you might want to think about once in a while. What you would do, how you would handle a stressful situation and not everyone is going to be the same, but do something to protect yourself, your family and whoever else is involved.”