Run. Hide. Fight. Do Quinnipiac students know what these words mean as the active shooter protocol?
When asked about what the active shooter protocol is sophomore physical therapy major Mike Stofko answered. “I have no idea.”
Twelve other students were asked the same question, and none knew what the protocol was. These students were also asked if any professors had spoken about the subject and only one out of the 12 had some form of a discussion about it.
“I work for public safety and they do send out an email whenever other campuses have issues, but to be honest I have not read them out thoroughly,” Siana Garcia, a student worker for the Office Public Safety office, said. “I feel like students want to believe that they’re safe. I want to believe that not everyone thinks that it’ll happen to them, until it happens to somewhere near here.”
[media-credit name=”Meghan Donahue” align=”alignright” width=”300″][/media-credit]On Feb. 15, 2018, an email was sent to members of the Quinnipiac community from Chief of Public Safety, Edgar Rodriguez, containing emergency protocol. This message was sent out with an intention for members of the community to review the protocol and remember to always be on alert. This is what protocol calls for.
If facing an armed intruder, the instructions indicate for someone to call 911 immediately and notify law enforcement. If and when one is able to do this, try to give a location, description of the intruder(s) and identify possible weapons.
After calling for help there are three options in responding to the situation: run, hide or fight. The first option, to run, says that if there is a safe escape available, take it. While escaping, leave any belongings behind and do not let others stop you. Do help others and warn anyone else about the area and situation.
The alternative to running is to take shelter and hide. Find a safe place and create barriers by locking or blocking out doors, hiding behind large objects and being quiet. For a situation like this, the best way to stay safe is to be out of sight.
The protocol designates the “fight” measure as a last resort, only to be taken if your life is in danger. In this situation, it is advised to try to incapacitate the intruder by using what is available to you even something as simple as throwing hot coffee.
Quinnipiac has put additional security parameters in place in case an active shooter occasion should arise. In Jan. 2014 the Office of Public Safety implemented 21 armed officers with prior law enforcement experience and ongoing training for emergencies. The training that officers engage in is done with local and state police departments as well as some training with the FBI. The emergency management team assigned in 2013 designates these measures.
Public Safety Training Officer, Bradley Bopp has given a presentation on the active shooter protocol in the past. Bopp also offers classroom evaluations for professors, in which he assesses the classroom and the possible action to be taken in an active shooter situation.
“The Vice President Mark Thompson had put out that all faculty and staff had to go through my run, fight, hide class,” Bopp said.
A memo from Thompson went out on Sept. 19, 2016 urging community members to attend the training sessions. A schedule of training sessions was provided in the email and it was broadcasted as “open to all members of the university community.”
The university cited Chief of Public Safety, Edgar Rodriguez, as the proper person to address the matter. The university holds meetings to provide training sessions for community members.
“Mark Thompson in 2016 made it mandatory for faculty and staff to have active shooter training. I’m not sure how he sent that out but the faculty and staff know that the active shooter training is mandatory for them,” Rodriguez said. “Human resources sets up the training and then we provide the training. This year students are going to be mandated to go through the training.
The online training being given to incoming freshmen will be during orientation. For the upperclassmen grandfathered in, the training sessions are open to them and invitations extended via email. The university is also working to give provide upperclassmen with the option to complete this training online.
“We’re always adjusting to make sure that we are following best practices. There will always be changes. It will always be an ongoing process and ongoing changes, but as long as we communicate that and bring those changes so everyone knows what’s going on, I think that’s what we need to do,” Rodriguez said.
The email sent out to faculty and staff members did not mandate them to participate in training, rather it encouraged them to. Encouraging someone to do something is very different from making it mandatory and that was not done. Rodriguez said that this mandate was established in 2016. In the present 2018, professors still do not have this understanding nor have a number of them attended an active shooter training session.
In describing how training sessions happen, Rodriguez verified that faculty members are required to sign in. For those who fail to attend, a letter or email is sent to their supervisors stating when the next session will take place and if attendance is possible, to please have those members do so.
We have to change the culture, according to Rodriguez.
Lockdowns are attempted on an annual basis. One lockdown drill has been done this year university wide and on the North Haven campus, according to Rodriguez.
In the future, the emergency management team is looking to add alerts via the Alertus and Rave Guardian platforms when an emergency or drill is occuring. Messages will be broadcasted all over the university, on all laptops, phones and virtually any visible screen in a building.
“Sometimes we try to tiptoe around what’s going on,” he said. “This is real life, this has to be mandatory because when something happens we need to be prepared so we can prepare as a university.”