Community Partnerships Improve Active Shooter Response

Bringing in agencies relevant to your campus’ active shooter-response will help you — and your community partners — prepare accordingly.

“Obviously one of the biggest components we are testing [during these active shooter exercises] is our communication – our ability to respond, the ability of the fire department to respond, the ability for both agencies to coordinate and communicate,” says Lieutenant Matthew Carmichael of the UC Davis Police Department.

Carmichael warns that focusing only on police could set your campus up for failure in other responses. “In law enforcement, we focus quite a bit on the contact component and at times maybe the rescue component doesn’t get as much attention,” he says.

To combat this potential problem, UC Davis used the active shooter exercise to test a regional medical response to mass casualties.  

“We focused on the ability to form a rescue team and let that team actually move in and do a rescue and move to the medical response, where the patients were triaged according to their injuries,” he says.

Bob Hessler, safety coordinator for Western Nebraska Community College (WNCC), says that in the event of a campus shooting, the WNCC’s mass notification system will immediately alert the local hospital. A liaison from the hospital will be sent to the college’s emergency operations center (EOC) to coordinate communications with medical personnel. This function is practiced extensively during active shooter drills.

“That way, [hospital personnel] are not getting surprised when the ambulance calls and says we’ve got 200 kids injured,” explains Hessler. “They are able to start planning even before the ambulance starts calling in victims because of our mass notification system.”

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