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Live Longer: Ways to Extend Heart Heath

Reduce Your Risk of Heart Disease

Whether you are a physically active college student, a busy parent, or a corporate businessperson who rarely leaves the office, you can reduce your risk of heart disease today. Time to make some healthy lifestyle choices, pick up a pair of ASICS runners on sale, and get ready to live a healthier stronger life. 

Heart disease claims thousands of lives each year. Living a heart healthy lifestyle is key to reducing cardiovascular disease and living a productive life. 

You might think that it is too late to begin taking care of your heart. Or maybe you have been a runner for most of your life and feel like you are ahead of the game. 



Either way there are some key ways to truly change your life!

You must be physically active each and every day.

Even if you had an active lifestyle in your earlier years, maintaining a regular active lifestyle is necessary to increase heart health. Research indicates that at least several hours a week of activity has numerous benefits:• Reduce blood pressure• Lower cholesterol• Maintain a healthy weight• Reduce chances of cardiovascular disease• Significantly reduce rate of death

Even if you are not used to heavy exercise, starting slow can have benefits. Pick up the latest sneaker releases and try walking for a short time each day. Find a partner to join you. The social benefits and accountability will help make exercise more enjoyable. 

Maintain a healthy weight with a healthy diet.

Exercise is only one component of a healthy lifestyle. Maintain your weight by eating a healthy diet rich in nutrients, fruits, vegetables, and fish. Keep lean proteins. Avoid fried and fatty foods. This includes avoiding fast food and sugary desserts. 

If you have a sweet tooth or love fried foods, find alternatives that satiate your appetite. You can learn how to cook a healthier version of most of your favorite dishes. For example, instead of getting a fast food breakfast sandwich in the morning, prepare your own breakfast ahead of time with a low cholesterol egg substitute on whole wheat bread and low-fat cheese. Substitute cauliflower crust for pizza night or use sugar substitutes for your baking. 

Half of your plate at every meal should be full of delicious fruits and vegetables. Buy your produce locally for fresher options. There are hundreds of easy healthy soups and stews that you can prepare in bulk in your crockpot or just opt for at least one salad per day. 

Coupling exercise with a high nutrient, low cholesterol, low fat diet will help you minimize your risk of heart disease. Meet with your nutritionist or dietician about ways that you can balance your exercise and health with a good diet. 

What else can I do to reduce heart disease?

If you smoke or drink large amounts of alcohol you are risking your overall heart health. Eliminate any type of smoking and keep drinking alcohol to a minimum. Even if you are relatively healthy or young, smoking and excessive drinking are doing irreversible long-term damage. 

Reduce stress in your life.

That might be easier said than done. Reducing stress will greatly minimize your chances of cardiovascular disease. Some ways to reduce stress include attending a yoga class, meditating, engaging in fun social activities with friends, and avoiding caffeine. 

Follow these simple guidelines to live a healthy and more productive lifestyle. 

Adulting Burnout And How to Deal Life Overwhelm

Photo by Claudia Barbosa from Pexels

Burnout is increasing. Some say it is even a global epidemic. Feelings of futility, lack of interest in the people we work with, lack of energy at work and at home and physical symptoms like headaches, stomaches and more are all signals that something is very wrong.

When we try to put a positive spin on our increasing dissatisfaction, we are denying our true feelings. When that happens, our bodies take over, trying desperately to signal us with a red flag to pay attention.

If this sounds like you, it’s time to make a change. Don’t let it overwhelm you. Take small steps toward a better, more fulfilling life for the sake of yourself and your loved ones. Don’t let excuses derail you, like, “What about my insurance?” There are medicare-for-all options with gaps in coverage until you land the next job or decide to get private insurance.

Decide What Makes You Feel Happy

We all have something that, no matter how bad our day is, puts a smile on our face. It could be a child’s laughter or a pet’s excited dance when you come home. It could be the satisfaction and serenity you feel when you look around your freshly cleaned home. It may be the smell of spices from cooking a meal. Maybe your zencomes from tending to plants. Whatever it is, think of that and how you can get more of it in your life. 

Pick Something You Would Do if You Could Do Anything

What was it that you secretly always wanted to do? Did you want to be a photographer or an interior decorator? When trying to remember back to your younger self and your desires at the time, don’t focus on practicality. Just remember what used to get you excited when you thought about doing that for a living. Now ask yourself if there is a job for what you identified that makes you happy. If your bliss is cooking, can you turn that into a business opportunity?

Make a Plan

Here is where the fun begins: ask yourself, “What Would It Take?” This could as simple as taking some classes or applying for a job in your dream industry. If your plan is to quit your job, don’t forget to take a look at your finances to see what you need to do in order to pay the basic living expenses in the interim. Want to travel the world? Consider putting your place on a short term rental site while you are gone in order to help finance your dream. 

Put It Into Motion

Now that you know what to do, go do it. Live your best life. 

5 Excellent Tips To Baby Shower Hosting

Photo by Vidal Balielo Jr. from Pexels

When one of your close friends is pregnant, it’s an exciting time — but there’s so much to do!

She has to figure out how to put in a car seat, decorate the nursery, and read through countless confusing parenting books. 

You want to throw her a baby shower to help take her mind off the stress and onto celebration. 

Need a little help?

Read our ultimate guide to throwing a baby shower the right way below.

1. Send out Invites Early

The first step of baby shower planning is getting those invites out early!

You want everyone the guest of honor cares about to be able to make it, after all. This also gives her plenty of time to set up and decide on the things she wants to list on her registry.

To get invites out ASAP, check out this free save the date template.

2. Get the Mom-To-Be’s Input

Remember, you’re throwing a baby shower for your friend, not for yourself. 

Always let her have the last word on any games, food, guest lists, and entertainment. You want her to be happy, not to resent you for insisting on doing things “your way.”

Photo by fu zhichao from Pexels

3. Find a Comfortable Hosting Space

Number one on the list of things you need for a baby shower?

A comfortable and cozy spot! The guest of honor will want to relax, spread out, and likely be in an environment she’s familiar with. 

If possible, try to host it in a friend’s home (not the mom-to-be’s own, as she shouldn’t have to handle the cleanup.) 

4. Avoid Stereotypical Games

Games are a huge part of throwing a baby shower, but things like racing to see who can change a diaper the fastest or forcing everyone to do a taste test of baby food aren’t fun for anyone. 

Instead, have everyone bring in an old baby picture of themselves and try to get guests to figure out who is who. You could also hire a singer, organize a betting pool about the time of the baby’s birth, and more. 

Any of these games are also a welcome alternative to the standard stuff. 

5. It’s OK to Serve Cocktails

Remember that just because the mom-to-be isn’t drinking doesn’t mean she doesn’t want her friends to have to do the same. 

Having a bottle of prosecco (or several more) around can make the experience of watching one person open gifts for hours much more fun. 

We also love the idea of creating a unique mocktail for the mom that’s named after her and includes her favorite alcohol-free ingredients. She shouldn’t have to stick to just sparkling water. 

Make Throwing a Baby Shower Easy with These Tips

Above all, remember that throwing a baby shower is something you do for a friend because you want to share her excitement and give her the chance to show off. 

You don’t have to spend weeks on end and thousands of dollars to make it memorable. 

Instead, focus on creating an event you know she’ll love. 

Need more tips on how to raise and celebrate a baby? 

Our blog has the advice you need. Bookmark us to stay in the know.

4 Reasons Why Most Food Pouches Aren’t Good For Your Baby

A World Health Study just found that half of baby foods analyzed obtained more than 30% of calories from sugar, concentrated fruit juice or other sweetener. This habit of feeding baby sugar essentially trains kids to crave sweet foods, leading to childhood obesity, adult diabetes and heart disease.

But the problem is much deeper: those food pouches our kids love have been linked to childhood obesity, speech delays and problems with motor skills development.

Here’s why you should avoid giving your kid any food squeezed from a pouch, compliments of the folks at baby and child food company Fresh Bellies,

#1 THEY DON’T LEARN FOOD TEXTURES

According to expert Amy Shapiro of Real Nutrition NYC, pouches don’t include spoons, tools which actually help introduce your baby to see and try new textures without scaring them (for example, potatoes). Without a spoon, your little one is just drinking food.

#2 PROMOTES DELAYS IN MOTOR SKILLS

Pouches have been linked to speech delays and issues with motor skills, because kids are squeezing food in their mouth instead of practicing hand/eye coordination to put food in their mouth, which is an important developmental milestones. The prolonged sucking motion of a pouch, beyond the bottle phase, also impacts speech development.

#3 UNDERMINES SOCIAL EATING

When a child is munching on a pouch in the car for lunch or on the couch, they’re not learning to appreciate food as nourishment, understanding their body cues, or really experiencing a meal as “social time” around a table with the entire family.

#4 KIDS DON’T LEARN TUMMY CUES

Kids are squeezing food in their mouths in large gulps instead of savoring each spoonful. The “one spoonful at a time” approach gives babies the space to learn to eat when they’re hungry and to stop eating when they’re full.

With Fresh Bellies baby food (), kids learn to eat how they should – from a cup with a spoon – and without masking vegetables with things like sweet fruit. When ever possible, go with fresh.

That’s the lesson here.

 

Revealing! Here’s What Makes You A Happy Person {Infographic}

Did you know that about 50% of your happiness level is based on your genes? However, research also suggests that around 40% comes from the choices you make in life.

Did you know that close relationships are the single biggest indicator of happiness and health longevity? Also, consider that loneliness can be just as harmful to one’s health as smoking and drinking alcohol excessively.

Here are a few other key findings but together by telehealth app Lakr:

 

7 Tips for Making a Homework Stations Kids Will Use

Now that most school systems are in full swing, it’s also the the perfect time to get your student’s homework station ready to go for the new school year.

Lorena Canals,  maker of all natural, hypo-allergenic, functional and super stylish machine-washable rugs for bedrooms, playrooms, and beyond, offered some awesome tips for creating a great workstation for your child:

1. Create a homework routine – kids in the first through third grade perform best when they know exactly what is expected.  Have a specific place for storing backpacks and times for doing homework.  Use these formative years to set up good study habits. Kids will raise their performance to the bar parents set.

2. Utilize a homework notebook – track homework assignments in a notebook that goes back and forth between home and school each day.  Use this notebook to communicate with your child’s teachers to address issues with homework, notes that need signed, or praises for a job well done.

3. Stock-up on Homework Essentials—when you’re out purchasing your kids’ school supplies, pick-up extras to keep at their homework station/desk. Include items like pencils, highlighters, scissors, ruler, stapler, post-it notes, paper clips, colored pencils, markers, timer, loose notebook paper, and notebooks. Store supplies, aside from the paper, in Mason jars or a desk organizer.

4. Hang a White Board for Important Reminders—once kids go back to school, fall becomes a busy time with homework assignments, projects, and after school extra-curricular activities. Help your kids stay on track with a place to jot down notes with due dates.  Use painters tape to create a giant calendar to post each day’s activities and homework assignments.

5. Use Magazine Files for Organizing Projects—instead of a pile of papers stacked on the kitchen table, use magazine files for organizing the important stuff. Label the files with “slips/homework to sign” or “homework to complete.” A file system helps to eliminate lost permission slips and homework. Encourage your kids to empty their backpack folders as soon as they get home and file or toss papers right away to keep the mess away.

6. Invest in a Good Chair & Lamp—help make your kids’ homework space one that is conducive to studying. This can easily be done with a simple desk, ergonomic chair, and a good lamp so your kids have plenty of light making it less of a strain on their eyes. Insure the space is free from distractions do your kids can concentrate on homework activities.

7. Add Some Colorful Artwork—if your child’s designed homework spot is decorated in their own personal style they’re more likely to spend more time there doing homework. Create a wall of empty frames that can hold a smaller piece of original art. As your child starts bring home art projects, feature them inside the frames on the wall.  Switch their artwork out monthly and store old projects away.  Surrounding themselves with a collection of their personal work will enhance creativity that will flow into their writing assignments too.

Good luck!

5 Ways to Get Deep Discounts on Textbooks for School and College

books with apple

books with apple


I have a high school senior and freshman and a middle schooler who attend schools that require parents to purchase their textbooks.

This is all new to me because I went to public schools for most of my life. The only time I had to purchase textbooks was when I was in college years ago. when I had to buy books and things were different back then. Thankfully, there are a bunch of new options.

One. Rent Books  

My husband and I were faced with the quandary of having to shell out something like $160 for some books, $85 for others. The costs were adding up plus we’ve got three kids! It was getting cost-prohibitive but fortunately, you can rent textbooks now and have a host of cost-saving options that were not previously available when we were growing up.

We used Amazon Textbook Rentals and rented  one book that cost close to $200 book for just $35.  What a huge saving, huh?!!

Two. Purchase the Looseleaf Version of the Textbook

Another option, I just learned about this year is loose leaf purchases. I would think it would be a violation of US and international copyright laws to copy a book and sell the pages but not so.

Over the past few years, publishers realized they need to be flexible with their market and so have contracted with third party resellers to permit them to sell the loose leaf version of books. Hooray!

You simply purchase a binder and insert the pages and you can save over $100 dollars on a text book.

We got a Government and Politics textbook that cost $70 new for just $22 from Barnes & Noble!  

THREE. BUY USED BOOKS

A lot of the rental books platforms also sell used books have standards and require the books to meet a minimum quality.

They describe what it means for a book to be in Fair, Good, Very Good and Excellent condition. HOWEVER, be very careful to get the correct edition. Some sites are not explicit in disclosing that it’s an old edition, the teacher’s edition or the workbook versus the text. IF the price is too low, be aware and make sure there isn’t a reason for a too ridiculously discount price. We got burned this way.

Also, if you get used books from third party re-sellers, be aware that a lot of them ship ground and therefore it could take up to three weeks for your books to arrive depending on where they’re being shipped from. 

If you have the option to select among several re-sellers, pick one located closer to where you live to shorten the delivery time. 

Finally, some of these outlets have few copies so it is possible that there may be overlap and the book may not be available then canceled. I mention all of this to let you know to be mindful of these factors when you go this route. 

Here are a few of the sources we have used:

Barnes and Noble

Biblio.com,

ValoreBooks.com,

Alibris.com,

Abe Books.com.

BookScouter.com

ThriftBooks.com

andChegg.com

Four. Attend Book Swaps

Our sons’ school offers a book swap where students moving on to the next grade can sell their books at heavily discounted prices to underclassmen.

They then get to go around to the other cars parked in the lot and purchase books they may need from older students.

A lot of schools offer this cost-saving option. You can also haggle and bargain. One mom was selling two novels for $5 each but I convinced her to give them to me for $7.  It was the end of the swap so she was running out of options anyway.

Even if your school doesn’t offer one, check out nearby schools and attend theirs but make sure  you are getting the correct textbook and edition. This can be tricky.

Five.  Buy Digital TextBooks

Finally, a lot of teachers and professors allow students to consume the digital version of textbooks on a Nook or Kindle or another digital device.

Once a person owns a digital copy, he/he is usually licensed to download and print out pages needed for a class. Amazon’s Kindle has an entire website to e-textbooks. Enter the ISBN of the text, Title or Author and hit search!There are so many wonderful ways to save money on textbooks these days that you really have no excuse to pay full price…well unless you can afford it and your kid prefers a shiny brand new, unblemished text in the most ideal form, then go for it!

No judgment! If you got it, make it work.

Good luck, parents!

10 Things to Do to Organize Your Kids’ Back to School Closet

As you prep to send the kids back to school, you may want to reassess what’s in their closet now and consolidate uneeded clothes, give away some, fold away some for younger children and basically get organized. Here are 10 tips to help you do that from a past post:

1.Take inventory: Go through the clothes that you already have for your child and see which items fit and which items don’t. Take the items that they have out grown to a resale shop or donate them to a worthy cause.

2.Assess how your child dresses: Don’t buy a bunch of dresses if you have a tomboy who doesn’t like to wear dresses. This may seem like common sense, but for some reason people love to buy pretty dresses and then they hang in the closet with the tags on them. Or they are worn once for that special occasion and that’s it.

3.Buy separates: Instead of buying a bunch of dresses you need to buy separates so that you can mix and match tops and skirts. You can also wear the tops with jeans or other pants. A dress is one outfit, but if you buy three skirts and three tops that can be mixed and matched then you can get nine outfits out of those items.

4.Buy basic colors: When buying pants or skirts think about buying basic colors, black, blue and brown. Those will go with a lot of different things you may already own. The more combinations that you can make the better off you will be.

5.Don’t buy outfits: Stores are great about putting together outfits, like pink and green striped leggings with a matching pink and green top. This is a one trick pony. You might be able to wear the top with jeans, but otherwise you can wear the pants with that one top and that’s it. Plus it’s such a bold color choice that you don’t want to repeat it in the same week.

6.Teach them to wear things more than once: The biggest thing that they can wear more than once is pajamas. There is no need to have seven pairs of pajamas. They can get up in the morning and fold them up and put them under their pillow for the next night. Having three to four pairs of pajamas should be plenty.

7.Add leggings to an outgrown dress: Do you have some dresses that are getting too short but they fit otherwise? Just add a pair of leggings and you can still get some more mileage out of those dresses.

8.Jeans, jeans, jeans: Most of the time jeans can be worn more than once in a week so teach your child to hang or fold them up after the first wearing unless they know they got a stain on them. Jeans are very versatile and can be worn dressed up with a nice shirt or sweater or worn with a T-shirt.

9.Buy basics: Buy a sweater in white so that you can take those short-sleeved dresses into Fall and Winter. Buy a white shirt that will go with anything or under any sweater to make an outfit warmer for winter. Black pants are always a good idea because they can be worn with any shirt and can be dressed up or down depending on the circumstances.

10.Take pictures and make a fashion book: Boys are especially bad about grabbing the shirt that is on the top in their drawer and wearing it over and over. For boys you might want to hang shirts so that they can all be seen. With girls, make a fashion book. Take pictures of all of the separate pieces and then mix and match them in a fashion book to show the different outfits that can be put together. Even young children can pick out an outfit and pull the pieces out of their closet and put a matching outfit together. Accessories for girls are also great to stretch a wardrobe. A great colorful scarf can be added to a basic black or brown top and you have a completely different look that how you wore it last week. Accessories are cheap and this is a good place to allow your kids to follow the trends, but not break that bank.

Good luck!

Calm Back To School Anxiety: 8 Ways How

Bellyitch Rewind

 Few things tug at a parent’s heartstrings like the cries and pleas of a child in the throes of a separation anxiety attack; still, they are a normal (if distressing) part of childhood development. With proper coping strategies and plenty of love, the worst of your child’s anxieties can be managed until he’s older, at which point most children tend to outgrow their fears of being separated from a parent or familiar adult.  

Managing your child’s separation anxiety and helping her to cope with the necessary but painful routine of parting is a matter of being patient, for the most part.

Keeping your composure and maintaining a grip on your patience is absolutely necessary in order for you to successfully employ other management techniques.

  1. Establish a Goodbye Ritual – Sharing a special goodbye ritual with your little one is both comforting and reassuring to her, letting her know that staying at school, daycare, or under the care of a nanny is a new part of her routine. Because structure and repetition are so important to young children, establishing a ritual that accompanies every separation can help normalize that separation, making it less stressful for her over time.
  2. Stay Calm – Kids react to the emotional state of a parent or loved one, so allowing yourself to become overly emotional or anxious in her presence is likely to only exacerbate the anxiety and fear that she’s already feeling. Maintain your composure as best you can, saving the emotional moments for a time when you’re out of her sight.
  3. Don’t Hover or Linger – While it might seem that your hysterical child will never calm down after you leave, childcare providers will almost always reassure you that their emotional state will improve dramatically once you’re gone. Lingering around and hovering over her will only prolong the process, stretching out both her suffering and your own.
  4. Speak with Caregivers and Teachers – Experienced childcare providers and preschool or kindergarten teachers are well-versed in reassuring both hysterical children and their concerned parents, so don’t hesitate to speak with them about how your child is adjusting. When normal separation anxiety is particularly difficult for a child to shake, or persists after a significant adjustment period, these people are your best allies in combating your little one’s fears and helping her learn to cope with separation in a calm, healthy way.
  5. Resist the Temptation to Sneak Away – It can be very tempting to wait until your child is distracted and slip quietly from the room, but this may not be the most productive method of dealing with her separation anxiety. Looking up to find you inexplicably gone, without any sort of a goodbye, can lead to a panic that she’s been abandoned or, at the very least, to feel that she can’t always trust that you’ll be where you should be.
  6. Communicate With Your Child – You can help prepare your child for preschool, kindergarten, or childcare by talking about the upcoming change, practicing separation on a small scale, and answering any questions that she has. These methods can be very effective in preventing the worst of her anxiety before it starts, and maintaining that open line of communication as she adjusts to her new environment and has new experiences is vital.
  7. Be Firm and Consistent – Don’t waver or bring your child home after a particularly bad outburst, as it sends the message that a tantrum will yield the desired result of either leaving daycare or school with you or sending your nanny home, rather than being separated. Focus on maintaining a firm but gentle demeanor, and a strong grip on your resolve.
  8. Know When Separation Anxiety Indicates Something More Serious – While separation anxiety is a very natural, normal part of growing up for many children, there are times when it could indicate something more serious. If a previously happy, well-adjusted child begins to regress and show signs of anxiety again, or if existing anxiety is severe and does not lessen with time, you should contact your pediatrician or medical provider for advice.

Good luck!

How To Help Your Child Survive An Active Shooter

Today has been quite a tumultuous one in the United States with not one, not two, but three different active shooter emergencies.

I wrote this intro a year ago yet one year later, it applies again as the US has been mired by 3 back-to-back active shooters in Gilroy, California, El Paso, Texas and Dayton, OH in the past week so I’m sharing yet again, this post about how to prep your child to survive an active shooter situation…again.

It’s pretty sad and scary because no longer can we be assured that we can avoid the type of places that these incidents occur at because there is not typical target any longer.

We may have heard the story of the little girl who survived the Sandy Hook shooter by pretending she was dead and staying still. Most kids are not prepared for such a situation and wouldn’t necessarily be that quick on their feet to think like that. It then leads us to the inevitable. We have to prepare our children for surviving an  active shooter situation.

Here are some basic pieces of advice, adapted from instructions and policies created by the ALICE (Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, Evacuate) Training Institute

What is an Active Shooter?

An active shooter emergency involves one or more persons, using a firearm, engaging in a random or systematic shooting spree. The vast majority of shootings in this country are over in a matter of minutes, involve persons known to one another, and are confined to a particular area.

An Active Shooting incident does not follow this template. It may last for minutes or hours, range over a large and constantly changing area, and threaten everyone within close proximity of the shooter(s).

Do You Get any Warning?

Persons may or may not receive advance warning of an active shooter. A witness, personal observation or the sound of gunshots may be the only alert you receive, leaving little time to react.

What Does an Active Shooter Emergency Sound Like?

The sound of gunshots, unlike special effects in movies and television, may sound muffled and make a “pop, pop, pop” noise. It is reasonable to assume that a series of such noises are gunshots and you should begin to take necessary precautions.

What’s Wrong With the Traditional “Shelter In Place” Process Police Use?

Traditional response to this type of incident has been to shelter in place and wait for the police to arrive. While this type of response is not wrong, case studies of several active shooter incidents have shown there may be instances where it is not possible or a secure location has been breached, resulting in an increase in casualties.

What is a Good Alternative for Pre schools and Day Care Centers?

The “ALICE” response plan has been identified to assist you in your response should this type of incident occur.

Pre-Schools and Day Care Centers come with unique factors and questions in dealing with this type of emergency. Building layout and features, the high number of younger children, and the consideration of possibly having only the option of “Lockdown” in some areas presents issues outside of normal protocols.

The staff should become skillful and think in terms of “when…then…” for an alert mindset.

Why Pre-Schools and Day Care Centers Present a Problem

Unlike most buildings, Pre-Schools and Day Care Centers usually only have one identifiable entrance for the public, but have several egress points for those in the building to escape in case of emergency. These points usually lead to playground areas that are fenced in order to keep children from wandering from the premise.

Consideration should be given to these fenced areas being gated and easily opened by staff to exit. Whether in an Active Shooter Emergency or Fire, the ability to move large numbers of staff and children away from the premise should be paramount. Once away from the building, the issue becomes one of keeping the children together and moving them to a safe haven. This location should be planned out and drilled into the children in much the same way we evacuate for fire drills. Campus Safety Has an Excellent Plan for administrators of schools and day care centers you can download HERE!

What should You or Your child do in an Active Shooter Situation to Survive?

What follows is a simple, example of an ALICE for Pre-Schools/ Day Care Centers.

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ALICE

“ALICE” is an acronym for 5 steps you can utilize in order to increase your chances of surviving a surprise attack by an Active Shooter. It is important to remember that the “ALICE” response does not follow a set of actions you “shall, must, will” do when confronted with an Active Shooter. Your survival and the survival of the children are paramount in this situation. Deal with known information and don’t worry about unknowns. You may use only 1 or 2 parts of the response plan or you may have to utilize all 5. In this type of incident, your perception is the reality and you will be deciding what the appropriate action is for you to take.

  • Alert- Can be anything.
    • Gunfire
    • Witness
    • PA Announcement
    • Phone alert
  • Lockdown- This is a semi-secure starting point from which to make survival decisions. If you decide to not evacuate, barricade to secure the room.
  • Lock the door using all securing mechanisms.
  • Cover any windows in the door if possible
  • Tie down the door, if possible, using belts, purse straps, shoe laces, zip ties etc.
  • Barricade the door with anything available (desks, chairs, rolling cabinets, etc.)
  • Look for alternate escape routes (windows, other doors)
  • Call 911
  • Move out of the doorway in case gunfire comes through it
  • Move children to the safest location in the room
  • Silence or place cell phones on vibrate
  • Once secured, do not open the door for anyone. Police will enter the room when the situation is over.
  • Gather weapons (coffee cups, chairs, books, pens, etc.) and mentally prepare to defend yourself or others.
  • Put yourself in position to surprise the active shooter should they enter the room.
  • Inform- Using any means necessary to pass on real time information.
  • Given in plain language.
  • Can be derived from 911 calls, video surveillance, etc.
  • Who, what, where, when and how information
  • Can be used by people in the area or who may come into it to make common sense decisions
  • Can be given by “Flash Alerts”, PA Announcements or Police Radio speakers
  • Information is a two-way street, if you have information share it with the police dispatch or the office
  • Counter- This is the use of simple, proactive techniques should you be confronted by the Active Shooter.
  • Anything can be a distraction device
  • Throws things at the shooters head to disrupt their aim
  • Give children the command to act (disruption tactics) or move
  • Create as much noise as possible
  • Attack in a group (swarm) if possible
  • Grab the shooters limbs and head and take them to the ground and hold them there
  • Fight dirty-bite, kick, scratch, gouge eyes, etc.
  • Run around the room and create chaos
  • If you have control of the shooter call 911 and tell the police where you are and listen to their commands when officers arrive on scene.
  • Commit to your actions, this is the last resort.
  • Evacuate- Remove yourself and the children from the danger zone as quickly as possible.
  • Decide if you can safely evacuate
  • Assist children in moving to secure rally points away from the building
  • Run in a zigzag pattern as fast as you can if alone
  • Do not stop running until you are far away from the area
  • Bring something to throw with you in case you would encounter the Active Shooter
  • Consider the distance to the ground if you go out a window. 3 floors up is considered the survivable drop zone.
  • Break out windows and attempt to quickly clear glass from the frame
  • Consider using belts, clothing or other items as an improvised rope to shorten the distance you would fall
  • Hang by your hands from the window ledge to shorten your drop
  • Attempt to drop into shrubs, mulch or grass to lessen the chance of injury
  • Do not attempt to drive from the area
  • Once at the rally point move children to most secure position possible and account for all the children in your care
  •  

Secondary Issues

  • Anyone may call 911 should they perceive a threat. Don’t worry if it turns out to be no issue, error on the side of caution.
  • Responding Police will have their weapons drawn and ready for use. They do not know exactly who the shooter is and will probably point weapons at you. Just remain calm and follow any directions they may give you. You may be asked questions, patted down, and given orders to exit certain ways.
  • Responding Police are there to stop the Active Shooter as soon as possible. They will bypass injured people and will not help you escape. Only after the shooter is stopped will they begin to provide other assistance.
  • If you come into possession of a weapon, do NOT, carry or brandish it! Police may think you are the Active Shooter. If possible, put it in a trashcan and carry it with you. If you come across Police, calmly tell them what you are carrying and why. Follow their commands.
  • Be prepared to provide first aid. Think outside the box. Tampons and feminine napkins can be used to stop blood loss. Shoes laces and belts can be used to secure tourniquets. Weighted shoes can be tied around a person’s head to immobilize it. Remember it may be several hours to secure an entire building and safely move an injured person. The actions you take immediately to treat injuries may save their life. Equip rooms with “GO Buckets” containing water, bandages, medications, zip ties, kitty litter to absorb moisture in the bucket should it be utilized as a toilet, etc.
  • If you are in lockdown for a long period of time, give consideration to issues such as bathroom use, keeping people calm, games, books, etc.
  • Pre-select Rally Points away from the building and practice with the staff and children moving to these locations. Make sure that the locations you are evacuating to know why and where to place you should an emergency occur. Involve local Law Enforcement in this planning.
  • Consider setting up classrooms and offices to make it harder for an Active Shooter to enter and acquire targets. Remember, posters and signs on windows, while welcoming, may obstruct your view of people entering the location.

These measures are meant to provide you with the knowledge and skills you may need to make decisions for your safety and the safety of the children. There are no mandates on how to survive, you are empowered to make decisions and won’t be second guessed.

What Can Parents do To Prepare for Non School Active Shooter Situations?

A book from the Alice Institute called “I’m Not Scared, I’m prepared” ($8.55)  tells the story of a teacher who has to tell her students what to do if a “dangerous someone” is in their school. Because we live in the world we live in, a book like this is needed for educators and parents so that their children are prepared for surviving a possible attack. It teaches the concepts taught in the training school for all children in a non-fearful way. Children learn things like:

  • Listen to the teacher and the announcements
  • There are ways to help the teacher barricade the door
  • There may be a time to go to a rally point with or without the teacher

and more.

photo: Screengrab WBUR/Getty