Plan ahead: Students encouraged to develop safety strategy

 Metal wedges that secure doors from the inside have been installed around campus. 

Police Chief Tony Nelson wants students to remember three words in the case of an active shooter on campus: Run. Hide. Fight.

At Chat with the President on Jan. 31, a student asked why there is not more student training on what to do if there is a shooting on campus.

Nelson recommends students watch the YouTube video titled Run. Hide. Fight. Surviving an Active Shooter Event to learn the best way to protect themselves. 

“I don’t share the plan with anyone outside of law enforcement simply because anyone can become an active shooter,” Police Chief Tony Nelson said. “Our plan is the response to the incident, we won’t know it’s happening until the shots are fired so we have to practice on the response.”

“All the officers in the department right now have done a stent on SWAT and everyone else here has worked for another police department. We don’t hire any officers that aren’t certified.” Nelson said.

“We feel good with where we are at. Hope we never have to implement the plan that we have.” Nelson said.

The police offer training when requested and will put you through some scenarios at the end.

“We will train (Professors) on how to go about looking for dangers and we tell people it is perfectly alright to have a plan,” Nelson said. “What I mean by that is if you go to the University center two or three times a week to the cafeteria be aware of your surroundings. Know where the exits are and things like that.”

“Any time I go to a large event, I can guarantee you I’m aware of where the exits are because you never know in this world,” Nelson said. “The worst thing you can do is to do nothing during a critical event. If something happens you have to be looking out for yourself.”

“Just sitting and waiting is the worst thing you can do,” Nelson said.

He emphasized the need for students to be aware of their surroundings at all times.

“Be aware of what’s around you and what’s going on around you. We talk a lot of times about this sixth sense and people have it. They really do. They can sense when something bad is going to happen. Listen to that stuff,” Nelson said.

There was a mandate sent that all classroom doors had to be able to lock from the inside.

“All doors to classrooms have to be able to be secured from the inside. There were several dozens of these lock down devices that were mounted in the auditoriums. They are very simple it’s just a metal wedge you put down that keeps the individual from pulling the door open.” Nelson said. “A lot of this is just giving time for law enforcement to get there.”

“We can be there in about 60 seconds and of course it’s a little bit longer for municipal police or sheriffs’ departments.” Nelson said.

“We are lucky in that aspect that the University has a University police department that can respond to these things.” Nelson said.

A video called RUN. HIDE. FIGHT. what students need to do during an active shooter event. 

In the run part of the video, students should:

  1. Try to find an escape path, and attempt to evacuate. 
  2. Leave your belongings behind. 
  3. Help others escape if possible and prevent others from entering the area. 
  4. Call 911 when safe.

During the hide section, students should:

  1. Try to lock and/or blockade the door. 
  2. Hide behind large objects and silence your cell phone. 
  3. Do your best to remain quiet and calm. 
  4. Find a hiding spot that is out of the shooter’s view, can provide protection if shots are fired, and doesn’t trap your options for movement.

In the Fight part, students should:

  1. only do this if your life is in danger and as a last resort. 
  2. Try to incapacitate the shooter and improvise weapons (Pick up a chair, Use a fire extinguisher, Spray perfume/deodorant in their eyes). 
  3. Try to act with physical aggression and commit to your actions.

When law enforcement arrives, students should:

  1. Know he first responders are not there to help with the injured. They are there to stop the shooter. 
  2. Remain calm and follow instructions. 
  3. Keep their hands visible at all times and avoid pointing or yelling.
  4.  Also know that help for the injured is on the way.