By Anthony Sevilla
In the wake of the Parkland shooting that left 17 people dead, students are worried about campus safety and find themselves checking the security of their surroundings.
Out of this senseless tragedy sprouts a very important question: would we be ready in the case of a school shooting?
Preparedness in a crisis can mean everything. Fortunately, Pensacola State College is now incorporating students into more of Campus Safety Month workshops during March.
Each campus will have a safety day and a public safety breakfast. Safety month will also include a law enforcement panel and self-defense classes. Something new this year is an Interacting with Law Enforcement event where students can interact with campus security officers.
An Active Shooter training workshop tailored specifically for students will be held March 12 in building 96.
The Parkland shooting marks the 18th shooting at or near a school in 2018. PSC Police Chief Sean Fagan and those involved in safety month hope to empower students and faculty with the knowledge of what to do in the case of an emergency.
“The way that I teach it—it doesn’t just help you at school, but it helps you when you’re out at the mall, if you’re at Walmart. It could happen anywhere,” Fagan said.
“What we teach is ‘run, hide, fight’ and it’s as simple as it sounds,” he said. “If you can get out of whatever the situation is or wherever the shooting is taking place—get out.”
If you’re unable to get out because it’s not safe, then you need to hide. If you can hide in an office or in a closet, lock the door if you can,” he said.
“The last-ditch effort is to fight. We don’t recommend that for anybody, but you might be put in a situation where that’s your only option. Anything you find on a desk or in a closet is a weapon. Anything you can throw at the shooter, it buys you time or it buys other people time to get out.”
“When I was a field training officer, I was told by the officer that I was training with, ‘You have to play the what if game.’ Don’t become complacent.”
PSC public speaking instructor Rodney Garrett believes vigilance is key.
Garrett makes sure to go over emergency escape routes at the beginning of every semester. His reason, “An honest answer may be that I’m paranoid,” Garrett said. “I’m just thinking what if something goes horribly wrong?”
Garrett also went over the protocol that he was taught at a faculty safety seminar that will now be taught to students.
“In the situation where there’s an active shooter, everybody in the room can throw a book. Then, if everybody throws a chair, you have the chance of taking control of that situation. Almost every object in the room can be useful to you,” he said.
“It’s a terrifying thought, but it’s terrifying for us to feel like we don’t know what to do.” Incorporating training can take the fear out of not knowing what could happen and replace it with confidence in knowing what to do in scary situations.