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‘A death trap:’ After Florida shooting, sheriff wants to change how we respond to fire alarms

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Kenosha County Sheriff David Beth

KENOSHA COUNTY -- Kenosha County Sheriff David Beth said Monday, Feb. 26 he wants to start a new conversation to end school shootings. He said he believes what happens in the classroom could save lives.

When a fire alarm goes off, the goal at many schools is 60 seconds. Sheriff Beth said if we would take a few more steps before running outside, tragedy could be prevented.

On Feb. 14, Nikolas Cruz is accused of shooting and killing 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. Beth said it has impacted him as both a sheriff and a parent.

"I got a 14-year-old in grade school, 16-year-old in high school and I couldn't imagine having my kids running out the door and getting shot. Those 17 parents in Florida -- I can't imagine that," Sheriff Beth said.

PARKLAND, FL - FEBRUARY 14: Fire Rescue personnel work the scene at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School after a shooting at the school that reportedly killed and injured multiple people on February 14, 2018 in Parkland, Florida. Numerous law enforcement officials continue to investigate the scene. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Sheriff Beth said he wants to start a new conversation on how fire alarms are responded to when it's not a drill.

"We're trained to run outside. In the wrong case, it could be a death trap," Sheriff Beth said.

Sheriff Beth is proposing that after a fire alarm goes off, but before students run outside, students could line up inside a classroom until official word comes from the office. They could locate the alarm and confirm flames or smoke, or move children from one area to a different part of the school.

Kenosha Fire Chief Charles Leipzig

"The key is getting out quickly," Kenosha Fire Chief Charles Leipzig said.

Chief Leipzig said he's open to those conversations.

"What are the risks? With fire we know the risk. With active shooter, the reality is, it's not a prescribed method that anyone subscribes to so we're left to deal with the risk as we see it," Chief Leipzig said.

With how quickly fire spreads, he believes staying inside isn't the answer, but said he's willing to work together so the massacre in Parkland, Florida doesn't happen again.

**Embargo: Las Vegas, NV**
Last week, Zanis's Crosses for Losses mission to honor victims of homicide brought him to Parkland, Florida, where 17 people were killed at Stoneman Douglas High School on Valentine's Day.

"'The fact that people are resorting to different tactics to amass their means is not only disturbing, but it's something we both have to adapt to," Chief Leipzig said.

PARKLAND, FL - FEBRUARY 15: Former Douglas student, Rachelle Borges sits near a candlelit cross during a vigil for victims of the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School yesterday, at Pine Trail Park, on February 15, 2018 in Parkland, Florida. Yesterday Police arrested 19 year old former student Nikolas Cruz for killing 17 people at the high school. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

Sheriff Beth said he hopes his ideas will spark conversations for school administrators and first responders. He said he hopes to continue spreading his ideas while working in conjunction with other existing programs.

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