University system takes steps to ready for shooting response

  • By Becky Bohrer
  • Saturday, October 10, 2015 9:29pm
  • News

JUNEAU, Alaska — Immediately after the shooting at an Oregon community college, students, faculty and staff at the University of Alaska Anchorage received an email.

That correspondence contained a link to training videos on what to do in case there is an active shooting on the Anchorage campus.

It’s just one example of ways the campuses of the University of Alaska system tries to prepare students to respond if there ever is an actual shooting on campus, officials said.

An emergency operation plan tailored for each campus includes a component for an active shooting response, university spokeswoman Roberta Graham said.

The plan is under review to ensure that each campus can carry it out smoothly, Graham said in an email to The Associated Press.

At the Anchorage campus, campus police offer training sessions, and students can access active shooter training videos on their own once they register for classes, said Jonathon Taylor, president of the Union of Students at the state’s largest university.

Information, such as an action plan detailed by campus police, is available on the university’s website, he said in an email. That site is being made more user-friendly and will provide students information for all types of emergencies.

Additionally, Taylor said an incident management team comprised of employees trained to respond to any emergency is working to evaluate its response to an active shooter situation. The group also regularly communicates potential safety issues to students by text, phone calls and emails.

“I think the resources and the plans in place by UAA to deal with a potential active shooter situation indicate that the university is taking this type of threat seriously,” he said. “Unfortunately, there is no way to guarantee these types of situations will never occur.”

He expects there to be a continued push to make sure students know how to react in an active shooter situation and to make them aware of available resources.

Graham said active shooter drills are not mandated.

“There’s a requirement to run emergency management exercises, but each university chooses what to drill,” she said. “For example, the Sitka campus might run an exercise on response to mud slides because it is germane to its campus.”

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