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Editorial: We need a better emergency plan

Our campus needs to be proactive in the development of a plan of what we should do in an emergency situation.

Less than one year ago, we wrote an article on guns and high profile shooting on college campuses. It was as worrisome then as it is today. We feel as though we’re not any closer to having a policy or an alarm system in place as we were then.

It would be great if our campus was more proactive in the development of a protocol that outlines what we should be doing in the event of a threat on campus.

There should be drills and written procedures for staff and students. We realize that, under duress, it’s difficult to think clearly. But it’s unsettling to realize that most of the students and faculty are unaware of what should be done in an urgent crisis.

It seems foolish of us to wait until the campus police to show up with further instructions. Every person employed by the college should know the procedure for a crisis.

In each classroom hangs a colorful packet of protocols designed to answer questions about a fire or a specific emergency, and it includes what to do when a shooter is on campus. Most don’t know it exists. In a crisis, by the time you’d find the active shooter page – located towards the back of the packet – it’s too late.

We all want the comfort of knowing we’re safe, but if our security is breached, then we should be able to trust that those in charge will guide the uninformed during a crisis.

Our government should assume responsibility and spend more time placing guidelines for training of all personnel in order to tighten up security on college campuses.

The recent shooting that took place in Oregon on a community college campus left us discussing what we would do in that situation.

It’s difficult to imagine ourselves in their shoes. Would we know how to find a way to protect ourselves?

A newly developed procedure should include definitive instructions other than “lock the door and close the blinds.”

Which might actually protect those in a classroom, but what about those out on campus who are headed to class, in the student quad, on a sports field or studying? They are unprotected and there isn’t a system in place that will alert them.

There are warning signals for tornados that when sounded there is no question about what to do or when to do it. Would it be impossible to have such a warning system in place on campus?

Our outdoor PA system could be set up with a certain, recognizable noise that could alert students, faculty and staff to a coming danger.

One would think that, with all our technological skills and possibilities, a simple solution might be the best solution.

When a series of loud blasts echoes over the campus, there shouldn’t be any doubt in anyone’s mind what is happening. The blasts could even be coded in order to identify a location, for instance upper or lower campus, giving others an opportunity to secure themselves.

Our campus needs a resolution and it’s time to provide students and staff with peace of mind that can only be obtained through a campus-wide alert system, inside and outside the classroom along with in-depth training of all staff and faculty.

We don’t want to be the campus that becomes known for being ill-prepared in a crisis.

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