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UNT experts offer campus safety tips during emergency
Discussions concerning precautions students should take in case a shooter is seen on campus have increased with recent school shootings; so much that a bill to allow concealed handgun license holders to carry weapons onto school campuses for protection is being reviewed in the Texas state legislature.
Emergency management coordinator Gregory Blake Abbe, said that because of the recent frequency of school shootings, safety will begin to take center stage.
“It was talked about, but now it’s being more and more emphasized,” Abbe said. “It’s an initiative that we’ve always had but now we have support from the highest levels of the university for pushing, this not only to students, but employees as well.”
Abbe said there were two basic protocols for students in a shooting – one for students in the building with the shooter, and one for students in other buildings.
Abbe also directed students to a video at emergency.unt.edu that teaches the Get Out/Hide Out/Take Out procedure in more detail.
Students who are in the same building as the shooter should use the Get Out/Hide Out/Take Out response, which can be seen at emergency.unt.edu.
“Get Out is your first option, if you can,” he said. “If you’re on the other side of the building than the shooter and you feel like you can exit the building, get out.”
Abbe said students should be sure to call 911 after getting away.
If the shooter is in close proximity, Abbe said students should find a place to hide. The best option is to find a door with a lock or a door that swings in, so it can be barricaded.
The next step is to spread out, if possible, and turn the lights out and cell phones off. If nothing else, Abbe said students should put objects around the door for the shooter to trip on if he enters.
If all else fails and the shooter is likely to enter, students should prepare to take him out. For this step, Abbe said that students who are hiding should split into two groups – one group stays close to the door to tackle the shooter, and the other group stays back and spreads out to throw things at the shooter’s face to distract him.
Students who are in a safe building should stay put, Abbe said.
“Do not leave the building until you receive official notice from authorities,” he said. “Once police neutralize the threat, then we’ll send notification.”
Abbe said UNT will start an emergency management twitter handle, #unt_em, that students can use to receive emergency weather updates and alerts about what is happening on campus in the near future.
UNT police captain James Coffey, who teaches courses for CHL, said people should keep perspective on how many people would actually have guns if the law passed.
According to recent reports from the Texas Department of Public Safety and the 2010 census, less than two percent of citizens have CHLs.
Because many college students are under 21 and don’t qualify for a CHL, that number will be even lower at UNT.
Conversely, Coffey said there would be concern from the police about shooting a CHL-holding student or faculty member, should the law pass.
“They’re not going to be able to tell who’s friendly and who’s a foe,” he said. “They’re just going to see citizens with guns.”
To watch the Get Out/Hide Out/Take Out response video visit http://emergency.unt.edu/site/emergency_planning/safety_videos/CPPS/Shots_Fired_On_Campus UNT login is required..