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School Assessment


RISKAlert Report Updated:  June 11, 2018                                                           

According to a retired Secret Service agent, Parkland’s Marjorie Stoneman Douglass staff was well
aware of the lack of security as much as 60 days before the fatal shooting took place.  The former agent, Steve Wexler,
was invited to review the high school for security and he reported numerous weaknesses to the MSD staff including:
Gates were unlocked.  Students did not wear identification badges.  A fire alarm could send students streaming into the halls.  Active-shooter drills were inadequate,”  he said.

In addition, he noted, “This stuff is blatantly obvious. You’ve got to fix this,’” Wexler said.  He never
heard from the school again. His recommendations included:

1. School gates should be locked, and students should wear ID badges showing they belong on campus.
The shooter on Feb. 14 was able to get on campus because the gates were opened at the end of the school day.

  1. Active-shooter drills should be routine. After the shooting, some students said they had not been involved
    in drills this year.
  2. Any adult should be able to declare a Code Red to lock down the school. Clark, the school district spokeswoman, said that is the current protocol, but Wexler said he was told an assistant principal notifies the principal, who then makes the call. “That’s a problem,” he said he told the staff. “This stuff happens fast. This playing telephone is no good. By that time we could sit down and have breakfast.”
  3. Schools should not immediately evacuate students for a fire alarm without first confirming there’s a fire. During the shooting, the gunfire set off the smoke alarm, and students fled into the halls, where the shooter could take aim.


    1. If you have a security iny weaknesses identified by an expert – TAKE THEIR ADVICE AND
    fix the issues that were identified!

    2. Liability increases if staff were clearly warned BEFORE an incident that there were
    existing security weaknesses.


For more information and a free subscription:  write to:  caroline@riskandsecurityllc.com

We provide the best Active Shooter Training, School Security Assessments, and & CMS Facility All-
Hazards  Risk  Assessments, Drills &  Training Programs.

www.riskandsecurityllc.com   and   www.caroline-hamilton.com

Seventeen Killed, Fifteen Wounded in Parkland School Shooting

RISKAlert Report # 1012


Update:  February 14, 2018

Parkland Deadly School Shooting 2 miles from me and here’s what I saw for
Valentine’s Day – BULLETS NOT FLOWERS at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas
High School

3rd Deadliest School Shooting in History – called a SCHOOL MASSACRE

I live right next to Parkland, FL and was out shopping at 2:30 when I heard the sirens from about a dozen
police cars and emergency vehicles. They followed the street right by my house, and as soon I got home,
I checked the TV and saw what had happened – another  deadly School Shooting.

Parkland is usually so quiet, just YESTERDAY it was named safest city in the US. Another student said he
knew the kid who had the gun, and that the student had shown him photos of guns on his phone

The shooter, now identified as Nikolas Cruz, was caught in his care close to  the school, and has been
charged in court. Fifteen others are till in the hospital.

I could see the police helicopter from my upstairs window.
So when I do active shooter assessments for healthcare
and other critical organiztions all day, and write about these incidents every day and night.

Here’s the real thing – right next to me!

My kids are out of school, but my hear still stopped, and I wanted to call every parent I know and check on their kids.  I dread seeing the list of the injured. My grandson’s classmate’s father was killed.  He was a coach at the high school.

So now this close knit community has been terrorized and there is no resolution. The person in custody is only
19-20 years old himself, and, accordingly to one of his friends, thought that having guns was ‘really cool’.
Well – it’s not really cool. It’s really horrible, really stupid.

The most aggravating thing about this is: One more time, it’s too late. No access control = high chance of
active shooter. No checking or scanning backpacks and here’s what you get. Dead and injured children
and teachers. 



This can happen anywhere, and it just happened again!

Contact me directly at caroline@riskandsecurityllc.com


 For more information and more great content:

www.riskandsecurityllc.com   or   www.caroline-hamilton.com

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information on  RISKAlerts,  and a new complete Active Shooter-
Workplace Violence Assessments,  Training and Improved Emergency
Preparedness Programs

#ParklandShooting   #ActiveShooter    #SchoolShooting




RISKAlert Report # 1005                            January 25, 2018                                   Benton, Kentucky



A 15-year old teenage boy, armed with a handgun, opened fire on Tuesday inside Marshall County High
School, killing two classmates and wounding 18 others. He has not been named yet, but the Assistant Country
Attorney Jason Darnall said he will be charged as an adult.

I talked to a mother with children at the high school, and she described the extreme panic and fear that gripped
the community, where parents didn’t know whether their child was dead or alive.

The unnamed student entered the school’s common area are started shooting, before entering the main building.
According to student Bryson Conkwright, a junior at the school, said he was talking with a friend on Tuesday
morning when he spotted the gunman walking up near him. “It took me a second to process it,” Mr. Conkwright, 17,
told law enforcement.

“One of my best friends got shot in the face, and then another one of my best friends was shot in the shoulder.”
He said he was part of a group of students who fled, kicked down a door to get outside and ran.

This was the 16th mass shooting in the U.S. in 2018!


1. Every school should be required to have instant lockdown. This shooter was
    able to fire his weapon over and over, from outside to inside the school.

2. The school’s communication system was deficient. It should have sent
     texts to all students directing them to an area of refuge, and updating
     frantic parents.



For more information and more great content:
www.riskandsecurityllc.com or www.caroline-hamilton.com


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We provide in-depth security risk assessments, Active Shooter assessments,
emergency preparedness risk assessments for clients around the world, that
meet compliance requirements and directly reduce liability!




What’s Your Active Shooter Risk? How to Assess the Threat!

Just the idea of an Active Shooter in your organization, whether you’re a military base, like Fort Hood, and the Washington Navy Yard, or a school like Sandy Hook, a beauty shop, a cracker factory in Philadelphia, a retail mall, a movie theatre, a grocery store parking lot, or a hundred other places, is a terrifying thought.

I lived about 3 miles from one of the shooting sites, a gas station, used by the Beltway Snipers back in October, 2002.  They killed ten people, totally at random, and critically injured three others.   Both of the snipers were sentenced, and John Muhammad was killed by lethal injection in 2009.

If you lived in the DC area, do you remember how scary it was just to pump gas into your car,  people were huddled against the side of their cars in the gas stations, and hidden by their shopping carts at the local Home Depots.

The fear of the Active Shooter comes from the seeming randomness of the action, which means there’s no way to prevent it, unless you give up, stay home, and hide under the bed all day.

But there are things you can do.  Instead of thinking of an Active Shooter incident as a totally unique situation, it’s really a form a Workplace Violence, Gas Station Violence, Parking Lot Violence and other related forms of random violence.   In fact, the Department of Homeland Security has identified quite a few steps you can take to keep yourself safer if you are in the vicinity of an active shooter (http://www.dhs.gov/active-shooter-preparedness).

Most of the shooters are mentally ill.  Normal individuals do not enjoy planning and killing strangers, and it is usually a last ditch effort, with the suicide of the shooter as the grand finale.   Their actions can sometimes be identified early, and the police can be alerted, or the Human Resources group at work, or even the local Sheriff can intervene before it gets to the actual shooting.

Signs that someone is having trouble negotiating their life, especially if that someone is a gun fanatic, with their living room full of AK-47 assault weapons and hollow point bullets, is not hard to spot, because these individuals often leave lots of warning signs, like:

  • Irrational Posts on Facebook or inappropriate tweets.
  • Threats made against friends and family.
  • A dropoff in personal hygiene, as the person gets more obsessed.
  • Problems negotiating their personal life.
  • Demonstrating signs of isolation and groundless paranoia

Organizations can protect themselves from an potential active shooter through a combination of specific controls that include elements like access control, continuous monitoring of cameras, employee awareness and training programs, clear cut evaluation routes, regular active shooter drills, and hardening of facilities, to name a few.

One of the best preventive measures is to conduct an Active Shooter Risk Assessment, which is similar to other security analyses, except that it is focused on a particular set of threats related to an Active Shooter Incident.   As part of my annual Threat Trend Reports, I’ll be releasing a new set of threat data about the Active Shooter, to help organizations calculate their risk of
having such an incident.   For example, did you know that the number of active shooter incidents has jumped from 1 in 2002
to 21 incidents in 2010?







Locations have changed, too, and we found that

About 25% of active shooter incidents occur in schools,
About 25% in retail locations, and
About 37% in workplaces.

In future blogs, we’ll be looking at each element of the active shooter incident, and providing more information to keep
your organization safe.



The Active Shooter Threat and Why We Need to Stay Situationally Aware

2012 will be remembered as the Year of the Active Shooter, where terrible tragedies across our country refocused people on issues surrounding gun control.  In many ways, it’s that old argument about whether the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few.

In many schools and hospital, it could be argued that the needs of the many to be safe, and NOT TO GET SHOT,  outweigh the needs of the few – to possess assault rifles and high capacity magazines, which allow them to kill a large number of people with almost no effort.

No matter what side of the debate you fall on,  the debate has certainly brought the debate back from and center.

And along the way, it took the Active Shooter threat from a phrase that only a few security people knew about, into a phrase that was trending on the web and Twitter.

The Department of Homeland Security made a variety of resources available to deal with the Active Shooter Threat (many can be found at  http://www.dhs.gov/active-shooter-preparedness) with tools includes a video, and booklet.

Whether you are an elementary school, like Newtown, a movie theatre, like Aurora, a regional mall, mountain resort or anything else, the number one way to counter the Active Shooter threat is to increase security awareness of the staff.

I have had teachers tell me  “my job is only to teach, I shouldn’t have to be responsible for security, too”.

Unfortunately, everyone has to be responsible for good security, or we are all at risk.  And again, there’s the trade-off (aka, the risk calculation):

Measure the inconvenience of having to keep your eyes open and be willing to report any suspicious behavior VS. being a casualty of a mass shooting, or having someone you know killed.

Looks like a pretty easy calculation to me:

Small Amount of Effort (no cost) = Big Increase in Security !!

Make sure you friends, family and staff are aware of the Active Shooter Threat!

What Churches Need to Know About Security Risk Assessment!

the problems that churches face has changed since the 1950s.  Churches were considered “safe”, but the Sikh temple shootings in Wisconsin, shootings in Colorado Springs Churches, and the burning of black churches, have changed the security posture of churches.

Take a look at violence in churches today.  In 2008, the FBI recorded 23,547 crimes attributed to location code for “Church/ Synagogue/Temple”.  Deaths from church attacks rose 36% in 2012 according to the January 30, 2013 edition of Christianity Today.  Guns were used in nearly 60 percent of all “deadly force incidents” at churches since 1999 according to Carl Chinn who has been tracking these incidents.

Arson incidents are so widespread that the Dept. of Justice has a National Church Arson Task Force, and “Arson at churches has been a problem for a long time,” said Patrick Moreland, an executive with the Wisconsin-based Church Mutual Insurance Co., which insures 63,000 houses of worship.

No church leader, or church member wants their place of worship to become a crime scene, as the country watches it unfold on CNN.  And there’s a pro-active way to analyze a church’s security profile

And determine:

  • How Likely the Church is to have a Violence Incident
  • What Other Churches in the area are experiencing
  • What the Threat Level is in your Geographic Area
  • Exactly What Controls You Need to Add to Stay Safe

A Security Risk Assessment is a quick, easy to use model that can take streams of data and information and use these actual events to produce a simple report that can track the threat levels, and match these to potential and existing controls to see how existing controls can be implemented, what new controls need to be added, and how to do it all in a cost-effective way.

One of the key points of a security risk assessment is that it measures solutions in terms of COST-EFFECTIVENESS.  No one wants to over-spend on something and not have enough money left for a critical security element.

Out in the field, we often find that controls are not effectively implemented, or they are not 100% implemented, and if there’s even a 10% gap, it’s just like the control never existed at all.

And you don’t need to be an expert to perform a security risk assessment on your church, school, temple or summer camp.  There are new automated software applications, like Church Facilities Risk-Pro, similar to the app on your iphone, that will do the assessment for you, showing you the data you need, and even writing and formatting the reports for you.

The Control Reports become a blueprint for improving security and can become part of a 3-year plan that will protect the physical facility, the congregation, and the entire community.

Another School Shooting Means We Learned Nothing from Newtown

Almost one month and two days since the tragic school shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary, where 20 young first-graders were shot by a crazy person with an assault rifle.

That day was one of those moments that you never forget, it’s seared in your brain and you probably know EXACTLY where you were when you heard the news start to trickle out.  I was at Toys R Us with my son and we were buying presents for his young twins.  I was checking Twitter and I saw a brief mention of another shooting.  At first it said, 3 individuals and possibly children, then 5 individuals,  then 12 children and by the time our shopping trip was over, so were the lives of 26 people, mostly innocent little first-graders. And it was only a week before Christmas.

As a security person who’s done lots of security assessments, you can’t help thinking, “What went wrong?”  “What could have prevented this atrocity?”  And there are dozens of potential solutions and who knows what might have made a difference.

Then there’s the day that President Obama signed 23 Executive Orders to tighten up background checks on potential gun owners,  keep track of who purchases guns, requiring federal agencies to make more background-check data available, requiring federal law enforcement to trace guns recovered in criminal investigations, and providing more training for police, first responders and school officials.  During his announcement, he said, “Let’s do the right thing!”.

We all want to do the right thing, but what IS the right thing, the one thing that will make a difference and significantly reduce gun violence in America?

These Executive Orders are a great start, but we all know the push-back that will come from Congress and the gun lobby, who still want to sell guns, even after they see a photo of a little girl shot, not once, but eleven times.

This was also a big wake up call for schools.  The public schools, colleges and universities seem to wake up every ten years and worry about security, and then they quickly forget and back into worry about academics instead of security and gun violence. Teachers want to TEACH.  Teachers often say, “Security is not my job, my job is to teach and I shouldn’t have to do anything else”.

But SCHOOL SECURITY has to be a process, not just a quick fix.  All security has to be a process.  The process starts with a clear policy.  There has to be an approved policy, whether that policy is a federal guidelines, like FEMA 428, “Primer to Design Safe Schools”, or whether it’s a security policy that mets a schools specific needs.  Without a policy, you have no place to start.

There have to be procedures written up, announced, handed out in 3-ring binders, and accompanied with education and training including drills.

There has to be training and education so people know what to do in an emergency, where to do, who to call, and how to respond.

There have to be annual security risk assessments to gauge the current threats, and measure the effective controls, and make the security program a process of continual improvement.

Without the foundation of policy, procedures, training, education and security assessments, it’s not a security program, it becomes just a grab bag of solutions that may or may not work.

For example – here are just a few of the point solutions we heard about today, endorsed by their own lobby groups:

  • Arming teachers with more guns.
  • Banning all guns on campuses.
  • Securing the school perimeter with chain link fences.
  • Doing more and better background checks.
  • Adding cameras which are constantly monitored.
  • Have an armed School Resource Officer on every campus.
  • Security Awareness courses for teachers.
  • Security awareness training for parents.
  • Giving teachers panic alarms.
  • Improving mental health services.
  • An assault weapons ban.
  • Banning high capacity gun clips.

If it was your children’s school or college, which of these elements would you choose?

Schools are a great leveler of our culture.  Everyone has personal experience with schools.  Everyone went to school once, and many have children in schools, or friends in schools, or know staff and teachers who work in schools, so schools are like a touchstone.  But you could also say “Hospital”, or “Train Station”, or “County Offices” or “Movie Theatre” and to protect these things, there has to be a security program in place.

We, as the security community, are the guardians of society.  We protect things of value.  And nothing has more value than our children.  Security has many other names like safety and emergency planning, and disaster recovery and loss prevention and risk management and violence prevention and information protection, just to name a few.

As a global security community, we should make our voices heard in this great debate, because we have the experience to know what works and what doesn’t and your voices are needed now, more than ever.

This is also a time where the public discussion of security breaks through the chatter and focuses attention on something that is critically important to everyone.   Security professionals have always networked and learned from each other’s experience.

Let’s talk to each other more about what works and share this with the rest of the country.

They need us.

About the Author, “Caroline Ramsey-Hamilton is a leading expert in assessing risk facilities security, workplace violence and security for hospitals, cybersecurity, nuclear security,  and also measuring compliance with security standards like FEMA 426-428, Joint Commission, HIPAA and OSHA. She has developed security programs with the National Security Agency, the U.S. Department of Defense and the National Institute of Justice, the Department of Homeland Security and many other agencies, and has developed a school security risk program with Eastern Kentucky University.

Caroline is a member of the ASIS Physical Security Council,  the ASIS Information Security Security Council, and on the Board of the South Florida chapter of  IAHSS (International Association for Hospital Safety & Security) She received the Distinguished Service award from the Maritime Security Council, and the Anti-Terrorism Accreditation Board’s  Distinguished Service award in 2011. You can reach Caroline at caroline@riskandsecurity or thru her web site at www.riskandsecurityllc.com.  She posts breaking security & risk alerts at www.twitter.com/riskalert.

Preventing Active Shooters – Schools Struggling to Find Solutions After Sandy Hook Shootings

We can control regular access to our facilities, schools and hospitals. We can have visitors sign into a visitors log.  We can take photos and ask for identification and lock the doors, but the Active Shooter doesn’t comply with any of these protocols and we have no control about when and where the Active Shooter may show up.

Here are some additional controls to consider if you need to improve your school or facility security.

1.  Put in Cameras that are actively MONITORED.  

For security experts, you already know this, but others might not know that cameras that just sit on the wall or ceiling only have 2 purposes:  (1)  To scare people into NOT doing something.  (2) To review after an incident happens and use to arrest someone.

Cameras can also be used to monitor what goes in – ACTIVE monitoring. This can be done in a facility, like a hospital, or company, and there are staff members looking at the camera visuals and watching for certain kinds of behavior.  This is also offered as a service.   Monitored cameras can alert police, check to see who’s entering the halls and actually respond and prevent Active Shooter incidents.

2.  Conduct regular training and drills for ALL STAFF and for all STUDENTS

People give lip service to training, but there’s nothing as effective as practicing for an active shooter.  It’s one thing to know where to go, or what to do, but it’s so much better to rehearse with a drill, have someone come in, unannounced and practice
moving to a safe area, practice locking down a school, hospital or facility.  This will expose all the weak areas, and make people more confident that they can deal with a bad situation and protect everyone.

3.   Have a clear NO WEAPONS – NO VIOLENCE Policy in place.

Policies are important because they say, “It’s a mandate, it’s a requirement” and that means most staff will comply with it.
No Weapons signs should be posted at all entrances.  Any violence should be reported and punished immediately.  This has a deterrent effect, as well as giving you the legal ground to stand on if an incident does occur.  It also makes staff and students feel safer.

4.   Know EXACTLY what the response time from the police department, in case an incident occurs.  

You can time your drills, you can have a conference with local law enforcement to trim down their response times.  You can pro-actively provide law enforcement and first responders with the building floor plans, or a digital map of the building.  These preparations shave crucial minutes off the actual response time in case an incident does occur.

Think about how many people a shooter can kill in ten minutes, more than 2 children a minute.  Every second counts so step up and add these four controls into your security control plans.





Assessing School Security Takes on New Dimensions after Sandy Hook Tragedy

After 30 years of security risk assessment experience and working with hundreds of schools, hospitals, facilities, I have to say that schools have not taken school security seriously.

Obviously there are the social pressures including mental health screening, proposed assault weapons bans, gun owner screening, etc., but these are the thing that won’t change overnight. EVEN IF THEY ARE LEGISLATED, it takes time to implement, and
implementation may not be perfect.

TODAY IS THE DAY TO DO A SCHOOL VIOLENCE ASSESSMENT – not tomorrow, not after new gun laws, not after the holidays — TODAY.

There are indicators you can look for to see if your school is at risk of an active shooter incident. And ways to be prepared if the unthinkable happens and an active shooter comes to your school.

Strong, simple access control is the most effective solution, and yes, this may mean that
a plain glass front door or window is not enough. Glass is easily broken, and yes, it means that all staff must be a little more accountable, and it probably means a red phone or connection to the local police.

There is a simple school risk assessment program that will give guidance on what you need to do TODAY, what controls you need to implement, what threats are most likely to occur. These can be accessed on the www.riskandsecurityllc.com website.

Some things are preventable, some aren’t. But lockdown drills, alarm systems, and active monitoring of cameras are just a few of the 60 controls every school should have in place to protect our precious children.


About Caroline Ramsey-Hamilton

Caroline Ramsey-Hamilton is a leading expert in assessing risk in different areas, including security risk assessments, workplace violence and security for hospitals, cybersecurity, nuclear security, and also measuring compliance with security standards like FEMA 426-428, Joint Commission, HIPAA and OSHA. She is currently working on a universal set of easy security tools that will make it easy to assess risk in a variety of companies, agencies and business. Her company, Risk & Security LLC, works with more than 500 clients around the world using a program that standardizes site surveys and assessments and makes it easier to compare facilities and measure their level of security. Caroline is a member of the ASIS Physical Security Council, the ASIS Information Technology Security Council, the Security Assessment Risk Management Association (SARMA), and a Board member of the IAHSS (International Assoc. for Hospital Safety & Security) in Florida. She received the Distinguished Service award from the Maritime Security Council, and the ATAB Distinguished Service award in 2011. You can reach Caroline at caroline-hamilton@att.net or thru her web site at www.riskandsecurityllc.com She posts breaking security & risk alerts at www.twitter.com/riskalert.


School Security Threat Assessment Program helps Schools Identity Weaknesses in Security after Sandy Hook Shootings

School Security Threat Assessment Program helps Schools
Identity Weaknesses in Security after Sandy Hook Shootings.

Boca Raton, Florida,  Dec. 17, 2012


Schools around the U.S. have found it difficult to put strong security controls in place because of lack of funding and resistance by parents and staff, who, unfortunately, saw physical security controls as too restrictive.

After the recent tragedy in Newtown, CT, it is critically important that every school do a security threat/risk assessment to see where their own vulnerabilites may be.

To address the situtuation and make it easier to do a simple, effective school security asssessment,  Risk and Security LLC
has announced a new School Security app, which can run on a tablet, smart phone or laptop.

The Risk-Pro for School Security© app is available for only $ 495.00 for non-profit healthcare organizations ($595.00 for others), and comes with an on-line user guide and free training.

The program is looks at the entire school,  addressing areas like access control, entry controls, and incident response.  The program was developed by Caroline Hamilton with the National Institute of Justice and Eastern Kentucky University to create an easy way for schools to use FEMA 428, How to have Safe Schools.

The web 2.0 program, Risk-Pro for School Security©,  is affordable and simple to use.  It includes fully-updated threat databases, and automated web-surveys  based on security requirements from FEMA 428.

“With 3-year old twins in my family, I was high motivated to make sure they are safe at their pre-school, and have fielded calls from dozens of security professionals who are worried about their children’s school security posture.   The Risk-Pro©  model has been used for easy software applications with the Department of Defense and over fifty hospitals, health plans and government agencies.
About Risk & Security  LLC

Risk & Security  LLC is a security risk assessment and risk analysis company with over 30 years of combined expertise in security risk.  It specializes in consulting on risk assessment projects and global application development of risk solutions.  Risk & Security partners with security companies around the world to provide state-of-the-art security expertise to analyze risk and recommend cost-effective countermeasures.

The team of risk and security experts is led Caroline Ramsey-Hamilton, who has created more than 18 security assessment software programs, and conducted more than 200 specialized security risk assessments in a variety of environments, including companies in the United States and around the world.



For more information:  caroline@riskandsecurityllc.com or