Buckeye Firearms Foundation's FASTER Saves Lives program poised to set new records
I always intend to do updates through the summer as we do FASTER Saves Lives classes. There are so many great stories to tell, but I never find the time to write it down.
FASTER is an acronym for Faculty/Administrator Safety Training and Emergency Response. It’s a program started after the Sandy Hook massacre in Newtown Connecticut that helps schools be prepared to stop armed killers.
The FASTER Saves Lives training has grown out of a one class idea into a nation leading program that is reshaping school safety and security. For all of us involved, it is one of the neatest things we have ever been involved with.
This summer we will conduct a record number of classes. We are doing our first out of state class in Colorado. In June we will conduct 4 three-day classes, at three different locations, in two different states, in a period of 8 days. This is only possible because of the dedication and enormous unpaid hours racked up by volunteers.
This year’s classes filled up earlier than ever. There are so many people that school districts are asking us to train that we added another class and still have a waiting list for people we couldn’t accommodate.
John Benner of Tactical Defense Institute (TDI) designed our class. There is no one in the country who possesses his wealth of experience and knowledge on active killers and how to stop them. We are humbled by the number of police, schools, and professional trainers from other states who have asked if they could send their people across the country to train with us.
Chris Cerino of Cerino Training Group has put his heart and soul into learning from other experts and transferring that information to those charged with watching over our kids. We promise “world class training” and Messrs.’ Benner and Cerino deliver it.
Both Benner and Cerino teams routinely receive high praise from military and law enforcement who say that the FASTER Saves Lives training is one of, if not the best class they have ever taken. School staff tell us they never knew such training was available, let alone thought they would ever have the opportunity to participate. It warms our hearts to hear graduates tell us, “Thank you. I’m a different person than I was three days ago.” Even better is when we hear from them years later, “I’m still a different person than I was before the class, and I’m never going back to the old ways. Because of you my children/school/community/family are safer.”
The training is a life changing event. Gone is the denial that “it won’t happen here. We are safe enough. Someone else will save us. That’s not my job.” In its place we instill an understanding of active killer events. Graduates leave with the knowledge, skills, and mindset to stop a killer, end the violence, and treat the injured.
For most of the country, this program can be instituted on a county by county basis. Ohio has at least two, and soon to be three, counties where every school has armed staff protecting the kids. By working with the Sheriff and local law enforcement we create a way for both law enforcement and education professionals to continue to train and learn together. These relationships have paid dividends that none of us imagined several years ago. This is the future of school safety and security. We are proud to be playing our part.
Are your schools making the grade on safety?
For more information, see www.FASTERSavesLives.org
To donate or sponsor a teacher, mail donations to:
FASTER Saves Lives
PO BOX 357
Greenville, OH 45331
Jim Irvine is the Buckeye Firearms Foundation President, BFA PAC Chairman and recipient of the NRA-ILA's 2011 "Jay M. Littlefield Volunteer of the Year Award" and the CCRKBA's 2012 "Gun Rights Defender of the Year Award."
In Ohio, any school board can decide to allow an individual to carry a firearm into school buildings. The state does not keep track and districts are not obligated to reveal the information. The debate at school board meetings usually happens behind closed doors. And it’s not just teachers who have been given permission. It’s nurses, principals, and maintenance people, according to Jim Irvine, Director of the FASTER program. But he says, it’s strictly voluntary.
“No one should ever be forced to carry a gun,” says Irvine. “It’s something you have got to want to do because if you don’t want to do it, you’re not going to embrace it with the right mindset and the right attitude to do it properly.”