Emergency preparedness a BUPD priority

After just over two weeks since the Parkland, Florida, school shooting, campus safety is currently one of the many topics at the forefront of national conversation. That conversation is continuing on Bradley’s campus in an effort to be prepared for emergency situations if they should arise.

Bradley students had the opportunity to receive lessons on safety protocol last Friday, Monday and Tuesday when Bradley University Crime Prevention Lt. Sean Savage delivered tips and information regarding contingency plans in the event of an emergency situation on campus. Savage stressed the importance of being knowledgeable of how to conduct oneself in a crisis, from safety alerts to how to deal with an active shooter scenario.

 “[BUPD has] county-wide jurisdiction,” Savage said to the audience. “We are in an understanding with the city, since they surround us basically on every bit of our patrol area … If you dial 911, you’re actually going to get [Peoria police] and then transfer over here. That’s why we ask that you program our [309] 677-2000 number into your phone; that’s our direct line.”

 In 2016, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention reported nearly 90 percent of public schools created a written plan for the event of an active shooter, while 70 percent of those schools had active shooter drills, according to Campus Safety Magazine.

 “[Based on our drills,] within two to three minutes of an active shooter being dispatched to one of us, it is estimated that between 20 and 25 law enforcement officers will be on our campus immediately within two to three minutes,” Savage said.

 Savage guided the audience through a history of active shooter emergencies on college campuses. He played recordings of phone calls to the police during the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary school shooting, using it as a platform to talk about the importance of accuracy when calling the police. Being able to describe weight, height, distinctive features, even the weapon being used are all important in locating the active killer and saving lives, according to Savage.

 Savage also stressed the importance of understanding different methods of reaction.

 “Noise, confusion, screaming, alarms … it’s going to sound like a train,” Savage said. “Improve your chances by planning. Play the ‘what-if’ game. Discuss it with others you trust. Have a plan.”

 Savage then proceeded to hold up his hands.

 “Keep your hands visible,” he said. “[The hands are] most likely where active shooter threats are. I know who you are, I see your faces pretty regularly, but the city officer that shows up right behind me isn’t familiar with our student body … I’m looking to stop the killing, and that is my number one goal, and I know that killing comes from [the hands]. And if you’re going to kill me or the people I love on this campus, then most likely it’s going to start with [your hands], not with your face. And I’m probably not going to pay attention to who you are.”

 More information on safety awareness as well active emergency alerts are posted at https://www.bradley.edu/emergency/ with regular updates. Students can sign up for ForeWarn text messages for instant notifications in the event of an emergency.

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