Oregon Community College shooting reminder of campus dangers

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Corporal Marisa Saccio gives a demonstration in 2013 of blocking doors in case a shooter tries to go in a classroom in Room 208 of the nursing complex. File

Corporal Marisa Saccio gives a demonstration in 2013 of blocking doors in case a shooter tries to go in a classroom in Room 208 of the nursing complex. File

Alamo Colleges Safety Plan is ready to be implemented when needed.

By Giselle Guadron

sac-ranger@alamo.edu

If you checked ACES email or were on campus last week, you are probably aware of a safety drill and test of the Alamo Colleges Alert Notification System Oct. 1 at this college.

Later that day, at Oregon Umpqua Community College, nine people were killed and nine injured when a gunman entered a classroom with multiple weapons and began firing.

At this college it was just a drill, but what if it was a situation similar to Umpqua?

What do you do?

Safety experts say, first, you must stay alert and be aware of your surroundings.

“Stay vigilant. I notice a lot of students looking down at their phones and texting,” Deputy Chief Joe Pabon said. “If you hear a noise like a gunshot, don’t hesitate. Call somebody and tell someone that you hear gunshots.”

Make sure you let the 911 operator know every detail of what you see and hear. If you are in a classroom, Pabon advises blocking the door with whatever is available, so that no one can get in. “Wait for police to come before you unblock the entry,” he added.

Next time you walk into a classroom, pay attention to the wall by the door. Hanging there you will see a safety plan and evacuation routes. The safety plan has scenarios ranging from a fire to an active shooter. Familiarize yourself with the safety plan because in an emergency situation, knowing what to do can help save your life.

There is an emergency plan in effect for all Alamo College campuses.

Mike Legg, director of enterprise risk management, said, “Each college has their own specific plan, but they are all very similar.”

Another tool to keep everyone on campus safe is the notification. “Our Connect 5 system sends out communication by email, voicemail and text message,” said Mario Muñiz, director of district public relations.

In ACES, information can be updated as needed. Muñiz recommends that everyone “update your information at least once a semester.”

The Umpqua Community College shooting is a sad reminder of the violence of mass shootings in schools, colleges and businesses around the nation.

To keep campuses safe, take all emergency drills seriously. “We want all people to be prepared in the small window, if it does happen,” Legg said.

Visit www.alamo.edu/emergency/ for more information on Emergency Notification Information.

For more information on the Alamo Colleges Police Department and for a PDF of the emergency plan, visit www.alamo.edu/district/police/.

For more information on the Alamo Alert Notification System, visit www.alamo.edu/alert/.

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