Former SWAT team member and certified Officer Survival Instructor Michael Hearns offers school survival tips for educators and students faced with a deadly scenario

Many people who read this blog know of me as a former undercover police detective who worked within the Medelin and Cali drug cartels. Among other things I am a certified Officer Survival Instructor and a former lead penetrator on the SWAT team. Below are my suggestions to make a school environment safer for educators and students, and what to do if an active shooter situation should arise:



1.  Bring some wooden wedges (no not the shoes ....the little triangle pieces of wood) to the office and keep them in your desk.  Something breaks bad you can  wedge the door as well as lock it.  If the lock gets opened or broken  they still can't open the door. When I was on the entry team with SWAT I carried 3-4 of them in my cargo bdu's and there were times when we as a team had to keep moving and could not check every

 door. I would wedge them and then we would come back and check them.


2.     Know your exits, and know the alternative exits as well.

Count the steps to the exits so that in a smoke filled environment

you can count your way to the door.


3.     Know your fire extinguishers too...a blast of CO2 smoke can

maybe be enough to get you out in the concealment. Plus those

exstinguishers  hurt when you clang someone with them. Keep a

good large can of aerosol Lysol in the classroom, it blends in

well. No one will question it being there but stings the eyes when sprayed into them


4.    Be cognizant of your reflection in glass, aquariums, coffee pots could be hiding and not know that you are being reflected

in the glass to the active shooter.


5.   Phone lines can be cut. Keep a cell in the classroom. Put it on

silent but keep it on. It will take too long to boost up if you

have to turn it on.


6.   If your classroom door has a window have a ready to use

shade, piece of paper, contact paper, shelf liner etc precut and

ready to sticky tack up to cover the window so that an offender

can't look in and see you and  the students.


7.   Keep 5-6 good size unopened soup cans in the classroom. Once

again it blends nicely no one will suspect anything. Put the cans

in a pillowcase and twist the case, makes a heck of a swing type

weapon or you can throw the cans  at either an offender or a stuck

window to break it open.


8.  Have a safe predetermined rendezvous place that you can go to away from the campus or structure. This will be a place that you can assess who is accounted for and who may still be in harms way. this will assist first responders as well in determining their course of action.



Michael Hearns is an Anti Money Laundering specialist with over 28 years of AML experience and can also be found at and on twitter at :!/LaunderingMoney

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1450 Brickell Bay Dr
Miami, Florida 33131

Michael Hearns

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