The armed student on our South Campus in February is a reminder that threats against our safety are always there. Fortunately, incidents like this one are rare. Still, we must be prepared. It seems a fitting time to remind ourselves of the College procedure for dealing with lockdown incidents. When ordered to lockdown, immediately take the following actions:
- Do not activate fire alarms since this will trigger people to leave safe areas and go outside where it might not be as safe or put them in a position where they encounter the threat.
- Find the closest lockable room and stay there until law enforcement officers or College officials direct you to move. Hallways, student centers and cafeterias are the riskiest areas.
- Close and lock all doors and windows where you are. Do this quickly to minimize sound and movement. Do not let anyone else into your room once you close and lock it unless you can do so with a high degree of certainty that you will be safe.
- Turn off lights and turn cellphones to silent mode.
- Get out of the line of site. This may require you to get up against an interior wall perpendicular to a door window. This may be the most important thing that you do. Remember the old saying that goes “out of sight-out of mind.”
- Remain quiet, calm and still. Remember, active shooters know that they have limited time and will be looking for easy victims. They will not spend a lot of time looking in any particular place if there is no indication victims are in the area.
- Provide comfort to panicked victims. Try to calm them and get them to remain quiet.
- Remain under lockdown until told from an official source that the crisis is over.
- Be aware that law enforcement officers are trained to go directly to the threat and engage it. They will not stop to assist you escape or treat injured persons. Do not do anything that would slow them down or hamper their attempts to eliminate the threat.
Other things you may do, if you can do so safely. Remember that these actions may be risky since you may expose yourself and others to a threat. Do not do these unless you are certain you can do safely:
- Assist with the announcement of the lockdown by using your voice.
- Escape if you can. Do not attempt to do this unless you are certain that the move is less risky than staying in place.
- Call 9-1-1 and report the threat. Be prepared to give detailed information about the situation, locations and weapons descriptions.
- Assist with clearing persons from hallways and other exposed areas and direct them to safety.
- Barricade doors and place paper over door windows.
- Always be aware of your surroundings.
- Keep your office or classroom door in the locked position, even if the door is open.
- Know your best escape routes.
- That the time to review the “Emergency Instructions Guide” located in each classroom and office.
Remember: These are general guidelines. All emergencies are different and may require response changes as events unfold. Information that you receive about the event may be erroneous and constantly changing. Also, remember that you are your best defense. Be prepared before an event occurs. There are also different types of lockdowns. They may be variously knows as “secure in place” or “shelter in place.” These types are used to reduce exposure to external chemical leaks, gas leaks or bomb threats.