The first thing to try to do if a shooter is nearby is leave.
On Tuesday, Oct. 29, the Emporia State Department of Emergency Management put on an event to inform the university and community about what to do if there is ever an active shooter on campus or in the area.
Carrie Boettcher, manager of Emergency Management, brought in Detective Travis Mishler from the Lyon County Sherriff Department to talk about ways to be prepared for shootings, and to explain what the police force response is.
“The more likely you are to prepare now, the more likely you will be more ready and calm for a situation like that to happen,” Boettcher said.
Mishler and Boettcher showed a YouTube video entitled “Run. Hide. Fight: Surviving an Active Shooter Event,” that illustrated the three-part idea. Leaving, as previously mentioned, if the first option. If there is no way to escape the building or the area, the video said the second option is to hide in a dark room where the door can be barricaded.
The last option the video presented is to fight back, using a heavy object that can hurt or even knock out the shooter.
Every state has mandatory fire drills, but not one student has died from a school fire in 50 years. In contrast, there have been many issues with school shootings in the country, yet some schools still do not have mandatory drills to prepare students and faculty for an active shooter, Mishler said.
“There is a big movement across the nation for every deputy and person to be informed of the run, hide, fight concept,” Mishler said. “Knowing this will help people be on the same page to know what to do before the police enforcement arrive at the active shooting scene.”
Although it sounds like common sense, the video pointed out that it will be harder to stay calm and think through the options.
“The new ideology behind this concept is preparedness,” Mishler said. “Being prepared and realizing that this is reality and could happen could help save your life or someone else’s, and I’m glad we’re doing this, so at least you can think about it.”
During the talk, Mishler showed a training video that all sherriff departments are required to view. The video explained that before an officer or a medic can help an injured person, the shooter has to be contained or dead.
After the Virginia Tech shooting in 2007, the police were highly criticized, so police departments have increased training for scenarios similar to this. On a large campus like Virginia Tech, which covers 2,600 acres with 25,000 students and around 100 buildings, Mishler said it is as important for the students to know what to do, as it is for the police.
The presentation was a response to these issues, Boettcher said, and was meant “to increase our preparedness and awareness for any type of situation that should come along.”