Dean gives talk on campus safety in event of active shooter
Published: Friday, February 22, 2013
Updated: Friday, February 22, 2013 02:02
Executive Director of Public Safety Paul Dean held a presentation in the Granite State Room of the MUB on Wednesday, Feb. 20 about what students and faculty should do in the event of an active shooter on campus.
“We’re not immune to these things… because we’re the University of New Hampshire,” Dean said.
The presentation, called “Shots Fired on Campus: When Lightning Strikes,” was made by the Center for Personal Protection and Safety, a safety consulting company for schools, companies and other groups.
Originally, the presentation was going to be in a MUB theater. However, Vice President of Student and Academic Services Mark Rubinstein – who helped set up the presentation – said that “the number of people who responded” forced the location change.
According to the presentation, there are three general options during an active shooting: get out, hide out or take out.
The first option is to get out if one can, then call the authorities. During the presentation, Dean told the audience not to “assume someone else is calling.”
The second option is to hide out if one cannot get out. This option includes finding a hidden location, hiding behind some sort of protection, and blockading the door to keep the shooter out.
The third option is to take out the shooter, which requires resolve and no hesitation.
If one is face to face with the shooter, throw things such as books to distract them, become aggressive, and act as a team with those in the room to gang up on them.
The use of each option, according to Dean, depends on the situation and person.
“Only you can make that personal decision,” Dean said. “There is no perfect answer.”
Every situation, however, requires that one be compliant and non-threatening toward law enforcement. The officer may not be able to get you out right away, as their first priority is to stop the shooter.
“When the officers get there, they don’t know who the bad guy is,” Dean said.
During a question and answer session, one attendee asked Dean if he suggests that professors have their phones during their classes for such emergencies.
Dean agreed that they should, and even suggested that some classes – if the professor cannot have their phone while they are teaching for whatever reason – designate a student who receives the UNH alert text messages to keep their phone on.
“The university has an alert system,” Dean said. “If there’s a shooter you will hear the outdoor sirens go off and you will get a text message.”
He also suggested that everyone on campus sign up for the free alert system.
“You’re going to get instant information,” Dean said.
According to Rubinstein, Dean will have another presentation on March 19, which anyone – including students – may attend. Dean is also working to obtain the rights to put the presentation online, so that any UNH community member can view it.
According to Rubinstein, this would solve many space, time and availability issues.
“There’s nothing that immunizes a college campus from these kinds of things,” Rubinstein said. “The key point is if you think about this in advance, you’re more likely to come out alive.”