UNION — What do you do if you are a student or faculty member at USC Union and someone comes in and starts shooting?
That’s the question that will be posed and addressed during an “Active Shooter Training” session being held today from 12:15-1 p.m. in the Truluck Activity Center on the USC Union campus.
“With all the recent shootings at colleges and universities, we wanted to make sure our students know how to respond in an emergency,” Dean Alice Taylor-Colbert said Tuesday.
Taylor-Colbert said that the training session has been organized by USC Union Health, Safety and Security Director Tony Gregory. She said the session will include a presentation by a local law enforcement official who will explain to students what to do in an active shooter situation.
Gregory said Tuesday that the focus of the session will be on the steps people who find themselves in an active shooter situation can take to maximize their chances of survival. He said those steps include, first, flight or running away to safety, which Gregory said involves “knowing your surroundings and whether you can escape safely.”
Escape, however, is not always possible, and Gregory said this leads to the second step of hiding from the shooter in a safe place. He said this part of the session will also look at “locking down” or securing the area a person finds themselves in during an active shooter situation.
If, however, neither flight nor hiding is an option, this leads to the third step of fighting the shooter, something Gregory said should be done only as a last resort given the danger involved.
“The last thing you want to do is fight,” Gregory said.
In addition to teaching students and faculty about what they should do in response to an active shooter situation, Gregory said the session will also inform them about how to respond when law enforcement arrives on the scene. Gregory said the member of law enforcement who will be taking part in the session will brief students and faculty on what law enforcement will be doing when they enter an active shooter scene. He said the officer will tell the students and faculty what law enforcement will be expecting the people they find at the scene to do so as to ensure everyone’s safety.
As part of the session, a handout providing more in-depth instructions for dealing with an active shooter situation will be handed to those in attendance. The handout states that “over the past few decades, violent events have occurred in workplaces and schools with catastrophic results.” It then recommends the steps persons who find themselves “in a situation where someone has entered the building and started shooting” should take.
If the active shooter is outside your building:
• Proceed to a room that can be locked.
• Close, lock, and barricade windows and doors.
• Turn off lights.
• Get down low, ensuring you are not visible from the outside.
• Silence all cell phones and remain quiet.
• Have one person call 911.
• Do not unlock the door or respond to voices unless absolutely certain it is the police.
If an active shooter is inside your building:
• Determine whether the room can be locked.
• If so, follow the instructions above.
• If not, determine if there is a nearby room that can be locked and whether it is safe to proceed or whether it is safe to escape outside.
If an active shooter enters your room:
• Try to remain calm.
• If possible, dial 911. If you cannot speak, leave the line open to allow the dispatcher to hear what is going on.
• If you are unable to escape or hide, act within your abilities, but do not do anything to further jeopardize your safety.
If the shooter leaves, proceed immediately to a safer location.
Charles Warner can be reached at 864-762-4090 or [email protected]