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TAKING ACTION: Preparing for an active shooting scenario at school

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala.- It's a frightening reality check, but it seems mass shootings are becoming more common in the U.S.

Huntsville Police Lieutenant Stacy Bates says now is the time for parents to be proactive and talk to leaders at their kids' schools so they know the school's active shooter plans before a situation arises.

"What can I be teaching my children at home that reinforces what you're teaching at school in your drills?" asked Lieutenant Bates.

Lieutenant Bates says knowing what to expect and preparing your child will help make a chaotic situation a little bit easier to navigate.

"You know what to expect, you know what the school system is going to do, you know how they're going to communicate with you," said Lieutenant Bates.

Lines of communication during an emergency event become easily broken, so having a communication plan is imperative to avoid further stress.

"The phone lines, especially the phone towers with cell phones are going to get overloaded. A lot of calls aren't going to be able to get through, just because you haven't heard from a loved one... don't assume the worst," said Lieutenant Bates.

Another crucial part of the plan to know beforehand -- the school's emergency staging area.

"They're not going to want you to come straight to the school, they're going to have another area to be reunited with your children because in a lot of cases it can cause more problems by showing up at the scene," said Lieutenant Bates.

For more tips on how to prepare for an active shooter scenario click here.