In light of recent campus shootings, Messiah College sent out a mass email providing information and listing required education sessions for all first-year students.
Specifically, this mass email was released after the Umpqua Community College in Oregon shooting where 9 individuals were killed by an enrolled student of the College. In a more recent setting, one person was killed and three others were injured in a shooting at the Tennessee State University campus on October 22nd.
Events such as those stated above can happen on any campus, even at Messiah. In regards to the training being provided for first-year students, Vice President for Operations at Messiah College Kathie Shafer says, “At this time we have made the training a requirement for first-year students and all employees. We have not made the training an annual requirement for all students but will continue to find ways to educate the campus in how to respond to this and many other potential emergency situations.”
Shafer also commented on the importance of using the text alert system, which is one of the quickest ways for the campus to communicate in an emergency.
Messiah College also has a crisis response team intact that works with local authorities in case of an active shooter’s presence on campus. Through several intensive meetings, the College has made sure to cover various scenarios to prevent such catastrophes from happening.
Christopher Bry, a senior Criminal Justice and Sociology double major, says, “I think it’s good for students to have an understanding of active shooter situations and what to do. The education takes way the panic that can happen in a situation like that.”
If an event like this should occur on campus, Shafer suggests three basic actions a student or faculty member can take depending on the situation.
- Get out: If you are able to distance yourself from the building or area that the shooter is close to without endangering yourself or others around you, exit the premises as quickly as possible. While keeping your hands visible, make sure not to pull the fire alarm but rather when you get to safety, call 911 and report the incident.
- Hide out: If you are unable to leave the area, find shelter then close, lock, and barricade the door if allowable. While remaining silent and hiding from plain sight, make sure that all of the lights are off and any blinds or windows are closed. It is also recommended that you turn your phone on silent, but not off so that you can receive text alerts. Lastly, if you can do so without endangering yourself and giving up your location, call 911.
- Take out: If you are in a life-threatening situation, it may be necessary to fight in order to save your life. Though it may contradict your beliefs, it is an individual decision. If you chose to fight, try to detain the subject with a group of individuals rather than alone. Using any objects that could pose as a weapon, you should hit and/or stab the subject repeatedly until subdued. Restrain the subject with any materials readily available whether it is tape, a belt, or some type of cord. Evacuate the premises once the shooter is confined and call 911 when in a safe location.
If you have not already, sign up for the Text Alert System so in the case of an emergency you are in the know. Use http://www.messiah.edu/info/20299/employees/1297/text_alert_system to register.