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Full-sensory realism

If you are doing active-shooter drills without sound effects, you’re missing an important element of realism, especially if your exercises are taking place in a school setting.

During the infamous Columbine incident, the blaring noise and flashing strobe lights from the school’s fire alarm system were said to “beat down officers’ psyches, like psychological warfare.” The assistant principal was “so frazzled she couldn’t remember the code” for silencing the system. “Desperate officers tried (unsuccessfully) to beat alarm speakers off the walls.” SWAT operators in the building couldn’t hear gunfire or screaming to locate the epicenter of the action because the deafening alarm drowned out everything else. Communication was limited largely to hand signals.

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