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UPD preps students for active shooter scenarios

With a presence similar to an epidemic, active shooter scenarios are becoming more common. To combat this, VSU is taking steps to inform its students through Civilian Response to Active Shooter events.

CRASE is a program created by VSU’s Department of Public Safety to give students knowledge on responding to the presence of an active shooter.

The initial presentation, given by Sgt. Heidi Browning, discussed disaster response, how to prepare oneself and how to respond to being trapped with the active shooter.

Using audio from the Columbine shooting, Browning showed listeners an example of students who were presented with an active shooter event, responded in fear and called the police in hysterics.

But this is how many people experience an active shooter event, said Browning.

Because of this, she aimed to teach attendees the proper procedures to take in response. Browning suggests civilians remember it’s to their own discretions how they choose to respond to an active shooter. There are three main ways of doings so: avoid, deny, defend.

In avoiding, responders choose to leave ASAP. This means finding any exit possible for safety, whether it be the closest door or even a window.

Browning recommends that if responders choose to do this, they should make sure they aren’t in the shooter’s sight. Always remain aware of potential exits.

In denying, responders choose to hide. Browning suggests that hiders first barricade any access points the shooter may have, mainly the doorway. Barricading ensures the possibility of heavily reduced room access for the shooter. A hider should also turn off the lights and stay hidden.

In defense, responders should stay confident, according to Browning. Without confidence, they’ll hesitate. Doorways aren’t safe since the defender will want to surprise the shooter.

Browning also wants to make sure those who defend and carry a weapon know they need to obey police officers and drop the weapon when told to.

Additionally, the presentation went over police training in active shooter scenarios.
The police’s primary work is to “stop the killing, stop more people from dying and evacuate the area.” According to Browning, this gains civilian understanding for how responders react to such an event.

Trauma was a large topic as well. It presents itself for those who experience an occurrence like dealing with an active shooter. To prepare themselves, Browning suggests civilians create a self-imposed critical incident stress management plan.

More than anything, CRASE enforces different ways to think about situations and to protect oneself.

“One person seeing this class could spread the word,” Browning said.

Students may see these presentations begin to pop up as often as every month. For more information or to join a class, contact Sgt. Heidi Browning at (229) 333-6024 or hnbertsch@valdosta.edu.

Written by Renee Seibert, Staff Writer.

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