Art by Peau Porotesano
The Las Vegas shooting affected communities across the nation, including the Pepperdine student body. The University provided a prayer gathering after the shooting, but it is also important to know how to respond in these unpredictable situations.
While it is impossible to know when and where these attacks will occur, Pepperdine’s Emergency Preparedness Guide on WaveNet provides instructions on how to respond to an active shooter on campus, as well as an active shooter safety video.
The University has set policies and guidelines to prepare for the unexpected and should further inform the Pepperdine community about the proper safety procedures. The Pepperdine community should also be aware that these life threatening situations could happen anywhere, even at Pepperdine, and should know the correct, safe way to respond. Students can take these guidelines into any situation, whether it may be on-campus, off-campus or abroad.
The guide defines an active shooter situation as “workplace and school violence [that] may include armed individuals who begin shooting.” According to the document, there are generally three options on how to respond; evade, secure-in-place, or defend one’s self if the perpetrator is in close proximity.
If the situation is safe enough for one to escape, rely on instincts to get out and get to a safe place. Leave any belongings behind, but take a cell phone if it is available.
If it is not possible to escape the situation, find a hidden location and secure the room by barricading entrances with heavy objects, closing the blinds, turning off the lights and remaining silent. Stay on the floor, away from doors or windows and resist the urge to peek.
“Make a plan with others in the room about what you will do if the shooter enters. Make a total commitment to action and act as a team with others,” according to the guide. Report the location of the assailant if possible.
If the perpetrator is close in proximity, the guide said people must use their own discretion to decide when to engage for survival. Lying motionless, pretending to be unconscious or confronting the individual are some options the guide suggests. Making a commitment to action and acting as a team with others if possible, is suggested as well.
Preparing mentally for these life-threatening situations is just as important, and it’s a fight or flight situation. Rely on instincts, repeat to yourself, “I will survive this situation,” and prepare to do whatever is necessary to protect yourself.
If the shooting occurs outside, drop to the ground immediately, face down and position your body as flat as possible. If there is a safe place close enough within 15 to 20 feet, duck and run to the cover.
The guide states to “move or crawl away from gunfire, trying to utilize any obstructions between you and the gunfire.” Remember that objects of cover can conceal, but might not be bulletproof.
Upon arriving at a safe place, stay down and do not move. Refrain from peeking or raising your head to see what is happening around you.
If possible, warn others of an active shooter situation. Help others escape, keep others away from the danger area and assist those who are injured if safe to do so.
The LiveSafe app allows people to report situations and is available to Pepperdine students, faculty, staff, parents, visitors and friends. Once you have ensured your own safety, call authorities. Call 911 first, then Department of Public Safety at (310) 506-4000. Do not assume that someone else has reported the incident.
When calling 911 and DPS, calmly identify yourself and your exact location. Remain calm and answer the dispatcher’s questions. Once law enforcement arrives, they will need to identify the shooter. To communicate that you are not the shooter, show them your empty hands and refrain from running, screaming or waving your arms at them.
If safe to do so, try to take a good description of the criminal: height, weight, gender, race, approximate age, clothing, method and direction of travel, number and type of weapons. This will help law enforcement identify the shooter.
The university has done its part in setting the guidelines for students and faculty to be informed of in the case of emergency situations. However, it is also the students’ responsibility to be ready to respond to these crises. Instead of being afraid of these situations, the Pepperdine community should feel safer knowing how to react to these emergencies if they were to happen.
Though these situations are unpredictable, Pepperdine has provided these guidelines to ensure the safety of the community in the case of an emergency. Remember to stay calm, be aware of your surroundings and rely on your instincts. Your safety is the most important in any emergency, so stay informed on how to respond in different emergency situations.
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