The SGA held an informative presentation Tuesday teaching people how to respond to an active shooter in the Theron Montgomery Building’s auditorium. Around forty people attended the hour-long presentation. This is one of many events scheduled this week in honor of Campus Safety Week.
The presentation was lead by Brian Mann, a police officer of 16 years. He was accompanied by Rob Schaffer.
According to Mann, there have been no deaths in kindergarten through twelfth grade due to a school fire within the past fifty years, but within the past thirteen years alone, there have been 117 deaths due to gunman in an educational setting.
Mann said emphasis on fire prevention, training and safety can be attributed to such a low number of deaths due to fire. His goal is to provide training so deaths due to an active shooter can still or diminish as much as possible.
“This is geared towards students so you can learn how to potentially save your life,” said Mann.
According to Mann, a person can respond to an active shooter from three options.
The first option is to run or evacuate the facility if it is safe to do so. If using this option, be sure to leave all belongings behind. “If we receive a report of an active shooter, our heart rate will be going out the roof. We can get tunnel vision and have auditory exclusion. We don’t want to mistake something in your hands for a weapon,” Mann said. Escalators and elevators should also be avoided in situations like these.
The second option is to hide and lock down. Mann said it is important to turn off the lights, remain silent, lock the door and barricade heavy furniture against the exit. If a door does not lock, belts and extension cords could also be used. Mann said to be sure to not stand directly in front of the door because “a gunman will typically shoot through it.”
The final option is to fight or counter the gunman. “If neither running or hiding is possible, attempt to disrupt or incapacitate the shooter by throwing things, using aggressive force and yelling,” said Mann. Even though JSU is a weapons-free campus, everyday items can be used as weapons if needed. Throwing scissors, books, fire extinguishers or chairs at the face of a shooter can disorient them enough where they could possibly be contained. Gaining control of their five limbs (two arms, two legs, and head) can be crucial in securing the weapon and moving it away from the shooter.
At the end of the presentation, Mann said, “I guess I’m telling you to just do something. Don’t assume it’s a joke. Listen and go with your gut feeling.”
“I learned a lot,” said Brandon Owens, a sophomore who attended the presentation. “It raised awareness to incidences that have happened in the past where people have come to schools with guns and terrorized students and teachers.”
The SGA will continue Campus Safety week Wednesday with Coffee with a Cop on today in the TMB lobby from 11 a.m. through 2 p.m.