Campus shootings are a nightmarish scenario that no one wants to imagine happening at their school or college. However, preparing for an active shooter scenario has the potential to mitigate a catastrophe if such a situation occurred.
The Office of Emergency Preparedness, with the aid of the UGA police department and the broadcast, video and photography unit of the Public Affairs Division, created a University System of Georgia program, “Plan, Prepare, React-Active Shooter Response Options for Students, Faculty and Staff,” to train colleges for the scenario. Funded through the board of regents, the program includes a short video, a PowerPoint presentation and supplemental materials to train campus preparedness representatives.
The program was first produced in 2008 as a “train-the-trainer” resource in response to the 2007 shooting at Virginia Tech. The regents awarded the Office of Emergency Preparedness a $10,000 grant to update the materials in 2013.
The upgraded program now appears on a website for qualified campus public safety personnel. They can access information that will enable the public safety users to teach options to students, faculty and staff on their campuses. The updates include new video footage filmed on campus with student, faculty and staff participants acting out scenarios for responding to an active shooter. In addition, the UGA community can access the revised video on the Office of Emergency Preparedness website at www.prepare.uga.edu or request a training class by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Steve Harris, director of the Office of Emergency Preparedness, said the training program emphasizes three strategies for handling an active shooter on campus: escape, hide and barricade, and, as a last resort, fight back.
“The basic objective of the program is: do something,” Harris said.
The emergency preparedness office also will host a discussion about active shooter scenarios on April 2 at 3 p.m. in Room 101 of the Miller Learning Center. The discussion is open free to the public.
Special Agent Ray Johnson from the FBI will talk about possible indicators for active shooter events. Capt. Wes Huff of the UGA police department will discuss local efforts to prepare for an active shooter situation.
The event is part of the Academic-Professional Security Series, which is a collaboration between the Office of Emergency Preparedness and the Center for International Trade and Security in the School of Public and International Affairs.