When an active killer targets a school, the standard protocol is to wait for law enforcement to arrive on the scene to stop the violence.
In 2013, that protocol started to change for many schools with the introduction of the FASTER Saves Lives program, which provides lethal force training and medical response to teachers and staff members.
Now after four years, FASTER Saves Lives has trained 773 school teachers and staff members from 194 districts in 8 states. This includes teachers and staff in 74 of Ohio's 88 counties.
FASTER stands for Faculty Administrator Safety Training & Emergency Response.
Created by concerned parents, law enforcement, and nationally-recognized safety and medical experts, FASTER is a groundbreaking, nonprofit program that gives educators practical violence response training.
The program offers a carefully structured curriculum offering over 26 hours of hands-on training over a 3-day class that exceeds the requirements of the Ohio Peace Officer Training Academy.
The purpose is not to replace police and EMT, but to allow teachers, administrators, and other personnel on-site to stop school violence rapidly and render medical aid immediately.
To date, the non-profit Buckeye Firearms Foundation has provided over $500,000 to fund this program.
According to program director Joe Eaton, the training has quickly gone from a radical idea to a widely accepted concept. "In 2016, we saw unprecedented support not only from school districts but also from county sheriffs across Ohio," Eaton said.
"As one example, a sheriff worked to get the last 4 districts in his county authorized and trained. We used the sheriff's range and the school buildings to conduct the classes. It was truly awesome seeing the entire community come together to put school safety first!"
2016 also saw many firsts for FASTER. The program started offering independent trauma medical training, hosted the first law enforcement only class to Ohio police officers, and worked with an Eagle Scout who wanted to put trauma kits in every classroom in his home district for his scout project.
"We expect 2017 to be another year of growth," continued Eaton. "With the passage of SB199, we expect many universities to now join the FASTER program. We will also host our first FASTER Saves Lives for businesses, churches and the public as a fundraiser for Buckeye Firearms Foundation."