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University Holds Active-Shooter Drill

Written by: Communicator StaffNovember 18, 2017

By: Ben Bailey

IPFW held a campus safety drill on Oct. 19 to test the campus response to an active-shooter situation.

“An emergency can happen at any point and the only way to know if the campus is going to be prepared for it is to test our procedures and to test our systems,” said Kimberly Wagner, IPFW’s director of public relations.

In regards to the selection of the type of safety drill, Wagner said an active-shooter drill was chosen due to the frequency of these types of situations in recent years.

“We chose to have an active-shooter drill because, unfortunately, those types of incidents have been all too common (and) not only on college campuses. Unfortunately, we all need to be prepared and know how to respond to the event of an active shooter on campus,” Wagner said.

First responders who participated were given a briefing the morning of the drill. However, specific details of the scenario were withheld from first responders in order to exhibit more realism.

Wagner said over 35 first responders were present, including university, city and county police officers.

Once the drill began, many different threats were presented to the first responders.

“A call came in from the clubhouse saying that there was a disturbance and a suspicious person there. Once police responded, the situation escalated just like many other emergencies do in real life,” Wagner said.

In addition to the active shooter, first responders were met with a potential bomb threat and a hostage situation.

While the main purpose of the drill was to test the response plans to emergency situations, Wagner said the drill was also used to test the new crisis communications plan that was written over the summer.

The plan, which was written by Wagner, details the procedure that the university will take to inform students in the event of an emergency situation.

Wagner believes that the drill was overall a success.

“From the administrative side of things I think the drill went very well. Overall it was a success, we learned a lot and we still have a lot to learn,” she said.

Some students, however, are less convinced of the drill’s level of success.

Many students indicated that they did not know what was going on, or even that they did not realize a safety drill was taking place. Other students reported professors canceling or suspending classes to avoid having to participate in the campus safety drill instead of helping students carry out emergency procedures.

In response to these reports, Wagner said the campus safety drill was communicated to students and faculty extremely well in the weeks before the event.

“We communicated about the drill a lot. We sent messages almost weekly leading up to the drill. When people choose not to participate, that’s their personal choice,” Wagner said.

As a result of the campus safety drill, IPFW is currently in the process of planning a campus safety campaign that will take place during the spring semester.

While Wagner was not able to give specifics about the campaign, she said it would be centered around helping students and faculty understand what to do in emergency situations.