Safe Havens Team Chosen to Author University Textbook on Extreme Violence

A team of three Safe Havens Analysts and more than a dozen of their colleagues has been selected to author a 600-page textbook for undergraduate students, graduate students, and practitioners who desire advanced information regarding the prevention of active shooter incidents, active killer attacks, acts of terrorism, and violent hate crimes. The working title for the book is Extreme Violence – How to Prevent, Prepare for and Recover from Active Shooter, Active Killer, Hate Violence and Acts of Terrorism. Extreme Violence will focus on what to do about the threat of extreme violence rather than focusing on the history or driving forces behind them. Rather than focusing on geopolitical solutions, the intensively researched book will be focused on how to address these extreme and highly lethal acts of violence at the local and state organizational level.

Safe Havens signed a contract with Cognella, a major publisher of more than 2,000 different textbooks, in November. Les Nichols, Phuong Nguyen and I will serve as co-authors and a distinguished team of subject matter experts have agreed to serve as contributing authors for the most comprehensive textbook on the subject in print. After a careful review of more than 100 books on related topics, we have identified a significant gap in textbooks that provide a comprehensive treatment of the prevention
of, preparedness for and recovery from these devastating types of extreme violence. The talented Safe Havens audio-visual, team will also be developing an array of support web tools to give the learner perspectives that are new to the field of textbook publication. The book will include more than 30 chapters on a wide array of related topics and will be heavily illustrated. The research and writing team has been hard at work and we are proud of the work they have done so far. We feel honored to have been selected by one of the nation’s most respected textbook publishers and to have the chance to work with such a diverse team of amazing subject matter experts to produce this much needed work.

South Carolina Department of Education Train-The-Trainer Program

South Carolina Department of Education Selects Safe Havens International Selected to Develop a School Safety Train-The-Trainer Program

South Carolina Department of Education Selects Safe Havens International Selected to Develop a School Safety Train-The-Trainer Program

South Carolina Department of Education Selects Safe Havens International Selected to Develop a School Safety Train-The-Trainer Program

After a lengthy competitive bid selection process, Safe Havens International was chosen by the South Carolina Department of Education to create a new train-the-trainer program. Through this program, 250 carefully selected instructors will be selected to participate. SHI will conduct five training sessions in different regions of the state this winter. After successfully completing the program, participants will be able to provide multiple blocks of instruction to local school officials across the state. Participants will also be trained in the SHI “Dorn Drill” process and will be provided with a series of custom audio scenarios for use in prompting staff to initiate emergency protective actions such as lockdown, evacuation, reverse evacuation, room clear, severe weather sheltering, sheltering in place for and hazardous materials. Graduates of the program will be able to load the audio scenarios onto portable devices and tablets to use them to prompt staff to initiate school-level drills, to conduct one-on-one spot checks of staff, and for use in structured staff development sessions. Graduates of the program will also receive a variety of other tools such as drill scoring instruments to help them improve fidelity and to provide improved documentation for their drill processes.

Safe Havens has been honored to conduct other types of school safety projects in a number of states including Indiana, Wisconsin, Hawaii, Maine and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.   Our project team is excited to have this opportunity to help the South Carolina Department of Education provide helpful tools to further enhance safety, security and emergency preparedness throughout the state.

School Bus Seat Belts: Opening a Dialogue

Seat Belts on School Buses?

A fatal bus crash in Chatanooga that killed six children has intensified the demand for seat belts on school buses.  This dialogue is similar to the use of various Active Shooter programs after Sandy Hook.  The dialogue is important, but decisions should be made rationally, not in response to the emotions of the tragedy.

So what are the facts about school buses and fatal crashes?

School Bus Safety Facts

According to the National Highway and Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA), since 1988 there have been over 416,000 fatal crashes in the United States.  1,265 of these involved school buses, or 0.03%. 1,409 people have died in accidents involving school buses, of which 113 were students (8%).  As is seen in the graphic below, 1% of students killed during normal school travel hours were on a school bus, making school buses the safest way to get to school (NHTSA, 2009).

school bus seat belts

School Bus Seat Belts: Pros & Cons

In any rational dialogue on a topic, it is good to consider the pros and cons.

Some good things about seat belts on school buses:

  • Prevents children from being thrown from their seats
  • Teaches children to use seat belts
  • Their use may protect against litigation
  • Can improve student behavior

Some areas of concern:

  • It can cost up to $15,000 to retrofit a school bus with seat belts, including the hardening of seat frames to be able to properly install lap & shoulder belts.
  • Students can, and have, use the belt buckles as weapons.
  • It would be next to impossible to ensure that all students remain properly buckled.
    school bus seat belts

    (Image from

  • After an accident, disoriented and panicked students may find it difficult to get out of their seat belts.
  • The proper use of seat belts requires they be adjusted each time they are used.  This will take additional time.
  • The installation of seat belts will reduce bus capacity, requiring more buses be used to deliver the same number of students.
  • Students who fail to use seat belts properly may be thrown into belted students, creating a double impact.
  • As of yet, there are no federal standards to outline proper installation of seat belts in school buses.

Start the Dialogue

The safety of all children should be the goal of everyone who cares for them, so the ultimate goal is to have zero children killed while in our care.  Therefore, fair consideration should be given to any idea that can improve child safety, including the use of seat belts on school buses.  However, that means considering all the pros and cons.  The ones above are just a start.

Having passion for the care of children is a wonderful thing, but we need to take care to not let that passion cloud our decision-making.  The stakes are too high.