Preparing for the Unpredictable; EvCC Holds Active Intruder Training after Recent College Campus Scares

Ricky Hester, Staff Writer

Safety at schools is a major concern for students, faculty, and parents. So the lockdown procedures, along with the effectiveness in which these procedures work is very important. Especially considering that EvCC just went into lockdown on Oct. 15, 2015. There were plenty of good things that happened during the lockdown which include messages through the speakers on the phones in classrooms and students pulling friends they know inside of their own classrooms.

The general consensus from students around campus was that most of them felt safe during this last lockdown or felt it went well. Student Spencer Clem said that he and some of his friends were working on some geography homework, in the top lounge of the cafeteria. When Clem heard about the news of the lockdown through the speakers, it was a little confusing at first because he said that someone was guarding the door making sure no one could leave but he didn’t know what the lockdown was for. Clem did say he knew what to do in the event of a lockdown previously from public school, so he said that there was nothing out of the ordinary for him.

However, Clem is conscious about the threat of a shooter on campus and realizes that there is nothing he can do about it. Clem says “With the laws in Washington state, there is no way for me to have a gun and protect myself, along with security also. So it is nothing to lose sleep over because it is out of my hands, I just hope that law enforcement in the area and security will step up their game to help us when we need them.”

When asked what would make him feel safer on campus, Clem said that he would feel much safer if security was able to carry weapons. Also stating “It’s not like they are mall cops, you know they would want to go and be trained to help protect the students. Most people worry about the threat security poses in other states carrying weapons, but I don’t think we would have to worry about that around here. In light of what happened with Oregon I feel like it is something we have to consider.”

 

However, there were a few problems during the lockdown that EvCC is currently working on to improve. One of the main problems is getting students to sign up for the RAVE messaging system. RAVE is a mass communication tool that sends out mass texts, along with pushing out messages to the EvCC social media sites at the same time. You can sign up on the EvCC website and students are encouraged to link their personal e-mail with their student e-mail, this will forward the necessary messages to students in faster time.

Another issue that was addressed is that the AMTEC building is a large shop environment where there was a lot of misinformation, which made it very hard to hear the lockdown messages. In the library the speakers didn’t work at all.  In the cafeteria the volume kept fluctuating between low and high levels of volume. So there are plans of possibly placing bullhorns in those buildings where there is a lot of noise to help alert the students in that building, said Marc Tolle, Director of Campus Safety and Emergency Management.

Tolle held Active Intruder training on Oct. 27, 2015. Tolle talked about lockdown procedures and important safety instructions while being in lockdown. One thing that was stressed: if you are outside during a lockdown, do not try to enter a building because people will most likely not let you inside. Instead, just find a direction and keep walking, to get out of the area calmly and quickly. Tolle also stated that students are encouraged to stay put where they are in the classroom, although the student should display situational awareness when needed.

Emergency building captains are in place to ensure that buildings are checked and secured after the lockdown is in effect, however the captains may not be in their building at the time of a lockdown. This is where other students and faculty are called to step up if the building captain is not present by making sure the doors are locked. The only buildings that don’t have the automatic locking systems are Parks, Rainier, and Olympus. Also if there are disabled students in the hallway, make sure to take them by the hand and lead them to safety with you.

Police have a 1-2 minute response time according to security, Tolle emphasized to do whatever it takes to keep yourself and other students safe until help arrives. Another important factor for students is Twitter, to make sure to let parents know that you are safe. This will keep parents from trying to reach their kids at school and keep them out of the first responders territory. Tolle goes on to say “The more of these incidents that happen it touches more peoples lives.”

Another student named Nhan Nguyen was in the Parks Student Union, except he was downstairs in the cafeteria. Nguyen says that he heard the announcement through the loud speakers but still didn’t know what was going on. When asked if he was worried at all Nguyen said “I was a little bit worried, is there going to be someone around the school? Am I going to miss my class? I just stayed in my seat for the entire lockdown and what worried me is there were a lot of open windows, here at the bottom of the cafeteria.” Nguyen did say that some lady came over and locked the door, but it made him “uneasy” knowing that the doors in Parks don’t automatically lock.

Nguyen said that he would feel safer if there were more security guards or curtains for the huge downstairs windows in the cafeteria. Possibly even a button that could automatically drop the curtains, along with installing the automatic locks on the Parks building itself.

So EvCC does have a few problems to overcome in the process of making the students and faculty safe. However security, along with the rest of the staff in charge are doing what they can to make EvCC safer and have seemed to ramp up the process in light of the Umpqua Community College shooting. With Active Intruder training at the forefront, along with lockdown training videos on the school website, things are turning around for EvCC.