Being a current hot topic in the campus rec industry, many active shooter emergency drills are getting revamped to ensure best practices for keeping their community safe.
The campus rec department at the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs (UCCS), is no exception, and they’ve taken great lengths to heighten preparedness.
Sklyer Rorabaugh, the director of campus recreation at UCCS, described their revamped drill as intense and lifelike. “Our university public safety department had one of their officers acting as the active shooter with a real handgun firing blanks, while two officers were responding to the active shooter incident trying to apprehend the shooter,” he said. “This was all conducted as a ‘live’ scenario where our facility went on lockdown during the drill.”
As part of the drill, emergency campus test alerts were also sent out in texts and emails to the campus community. The goal was to keep the drill as realistic as possible to fully prepare for a future potential threat. “This type of emergency drill process really tested our knowledge and natural reactions in how we would respond if we were to face this type of emergency in a real-life scenario and was an invaluable experience that we all learned from,” said Rorabaugh.
In order to pull off such a realistic scenario with an acting live-shooter, campus rec enlisted the help of the university public safety department, whom they already have a strong partnership with. “We invite their staff to our annual fall and spring all-student trainings we host at the onset of each semester. They cover some aspect of emergency preparedness with our staff to best prepare them for all types of emergency situations we may endure in the future,” said Rorabaugh.
Using a realistic drill method, Rorabaugh said he realized how essential time is during the situation. “Often times in emergency situations, you don’t have the luxury of time on your side and need to make the best decisions for yourself and for the safety of others without second guessing yourself,” he said. “Each one of our staff members realized how essential it is in knowing where to take cover and how to get there in an expedient manner while trying to keep yourself as well as others out of harm’s way.”
In addition to a life-like active shooter drill, UCCS campus rec also implemented a follow up training called, “Stop the Bleed,” where the university environmental health and safety department taught on how to assist in a bleeding emergency before professional help arrives.
“I believe the most important aspects of preparation in regard to emergency situations is to share knowledge and provide repetition,” said Rorabaugh. “It’s integral to have your staff participate in emergency preparedness drills in order to effectively and efficiently prepare themselves and their team to appropriately respond when faced with adversity.”