Precautions set in place at Utah Tech for the possibility of an active shooter

Due to the recent mass shootings, students are encouraged to be familiar with active shooter safety protocols. Brynlee Wade | Sun News Daily

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Utah Tech University has safety precautions set in place to help students, faculty and staff prepare for emergency situations.

The recent shooting at Michigan State University left students, faculty and communities in the aftermath of a tragedy. MSU students were forced to use their universities safety protocols and precautions to keep themselves and other safe.

From Feb. 17 to Feb. 19 there have been 10 mass shootings in the United States. Gun safety is being retaught and the importance of knowing gun safety and safety procedures is rising.

Utah Tech prepares to respond to emergencies 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, according to the Emergency Procedures handbook. If a situation involving an active shooter arises on campus, university personnel are prepared to direct the university’s emergency response.

Ron Bridge, chief of police and director, said Utah Tech follows policies and laws for concealed firearms on campus. Anyone who has a concealed carry permit may carry a concealed firearm on campus. A recent Utah law also gives citizens above 21 years old permission to open carry a gun without a permit.

“In cases involving open carry, we simply ask the person to secure the firearm to keep from causing a disturbance on campus,” Bridge said.

Bridge said gun safety is about gun education. If a person is not comfortable around a firearm, avoid the situation. Don’t pick up a gun you are not familiar with. Bridge gave five rules about gun safety:

  1. All guns are always loaded.
  2. Never point a gun at something you are not willing to destroy.
  3. Be certain of what you are aiming at and what is beyond that target.
  4. Keep your finger off the trigger until you are ready to fire.
  5. Keep all guns locked away unless in use.

Utah Tech safety and risk management faculty recommend each member of the campus community educate themselves on what to do in the event of an active shooting situation on campus. The “run, hide, fight” theory is believed to be the best response in the case of an active shooting:

  • If an active incident occurs on campus, determine if you can safely run from where you are. If you can safely run, create distance from the danger and call 911.
  • If you are not able to run from where you are, quickly evaluate your location and begin hiding from the danger. Create a barrier between yourself and the danger using doors, turn off lights and silence your phone.
  • If you are not able to run and have done all you can to hide but the danger is still present, be prepared to fight. Use any kind of object within reach, use it as a weapon and fight the danger.

According to the emergency procedures handbook, there are four steps to take when an active shooting incident occurs on campus:

  1. “Do not take unnecessary chances and do not interfere with: persons committing the crime/creating the disturbance, law enforcement authorities on the scene.
  2. If you are the victim of, are involved in, or witness any on-campus violation of the law such as assault, robbery, theft, unwanted sexual behavior, stalking, etc. that is in progress; call 911 and Utah Tech police with the following information: Nature of incident, location of incident, description of person(s) involved, location of person(s) involved, if the person(s) left the scene, their direction of travel, what time the incident occurred, and your name, location, department and extension number.
  3. Get a good description of the suspect if personal safety allows. Note his/her height, weight, sex, race, approximate age, clothing, method and direction of travel, and name if known. Should a suspect attempt to or get away in a vehicle, bicycle, etc., note the make and model, license number (if possible), color, outstanding characteristics, etc.
  4. Remain where you are until a police officer arrives.”

The first goal of responders is to get to the shooter(s). Officers need as much accurate information as possible in order to achieve that.