Following the aftermath of the deadliest shooting in modern history in Las Vegas Oct. 1, concerns about gun control and mass shootings have resurfaced — especially on college campuses.
“I think it’s safe for me to say that people are a little paranoid these days, and I don’t blame them,” said Lt. Rick Goodwin of the University Police Department. “You don’t know what’s going to happen because these events have been happening more than we would like.”
In the event of an active shooter on campus, anything can happen and reactions of those being fired upon can greatly affect the safety and survival of others.
“If something like that were to happen on campus I’m not sure what I’d do,” said junior social work major Sara Seth. “I assume if I were in class there would be some sort of code red or lockdown. If I was in the open I’m not sure, it doesn’t seem like we have anything prepared in that situation.”
Lt. Goodwin and UPD Sergeant Keith Caires have offered their advice on what to do in the event of a school shooting.
Step 1: Keep your eyes and ears open
According to Goodwin, communication is key. Keeping a firm grasp of surroundings and making sure to call UPD if anything suspicious is observed is vital.
“If you see something suspicious, a male subject walking across campus with two large black bags that could carry rifles for example, we would want you to call [UPD],” Goodwin said.
The sounds of a fire cracker or a car backfire can also be misconstrued as a gunshot, but Goodwin said that it should still be reported. Multiple reports of an incident usually helps police find out if the situation is legitimate.
Once the incident is confirmed, police representatives hit a red emergency button. This will instantly send notification emails to students, faculty and employees that there is immediate danger.
Step 2: Run
This step is purely situational and will depend largely on your surroundings and proximity to the shooter.
“If you hear a shooter upstairs and you’re downstairs, then get out,” Goodwin said. “If you’re in the quad and you hear gunfire then get out.”
Caires recommends using the “run, hide, fight” model in such situations.
“If you’re in an area where people are being hit, I’d recommend moving,” Caires said.
The first response, run — get away from the scene as fast as possible as long as the individual isn’t in the line of fire.
“If you can see the gun, the gun can see you,” Caires said. “You’ve got to get around the corner or somewhere that obscures your view.”
Step 3: Hide
After reaching a safe distance, hide. Get under a desk, behind a piece of furniture or wall to try to take cover. For professors in a classroom who have been notified of a shooter outside, their first move should be to run to the door and lock it. Goodwin recommends for classrooms that have windows on the doors, to cover the windows. After the door is locked, barricade the door with furniture.
If you are stuck in a classroom or in any enclosed space when a shooter opens fire, get down.
According to Caires, it is very important to observe the ground and understand the way that bullets may react to it. If the ground is hard or asphalt, Caires said getting down may still leave you in the field of fire.
Caires also referred to the Las Vegas shooting, in which the terrorist Stephen Paddock was firing from above.
“If a shooter is firing from above, your best bet is to run and get out of sight,” Caires said. “By laying down you’re exposing vital areas.”
If running or hiding is no longer an option, a previous Daily 49er article stated that the next step in the model would be to “act with physical aggression and commit to incapacitating the shooter.”
Step 4: Stop the Bleed
If an individual is able and feels safe enough in doing so, creating a tourniquet for those who have been wounded may save lives.
“Essentially what you find is that the majority of victims in a mass casualty, die from blood loss,” Caires said.
The campaign “Stop the Bleed” is a class that is taught nation-wide and sometimes offered by UPD, it is designed to teach bystanders how to control bleeding. Caires added that if any students groups such as Associated Students Inc. or any others wanted to run a “stop the bleed,” course, it can be facilitated through UPD.
“I recommend that people stay within their capabilities,” Caires said. “Make sure you’re going to survive the day but for others who have the ability to render aid, it may save lives.”