Students prepare for crisis situations

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On March 31, students and emergency personnel will participate in the annual Main Campus Crisis Training Exercise and Drill from 5 to 7 p.m. to learn how to identify, respond to and notify the NSU community about an emergency.

In the morning, a mass notification test of all university alert systems will occur, such as announcements over speakers, mass text messages and phone calls to the NSU community. The afternoon training will be in the Sonken Building at the University School, which will be closed to the public at that time.

During the training, two students will act as shooters. One will be neutralized by the Davie Police, while the other will make his or her way to the second floor of the building and take hostages. Other student roles include victims or escapees.

Students will serve as actors to make the drill as realistic as possible. Davie Police and Fire and Rescue, the Office of Public Safety and staff members will also participate to ensure the NSU community and emergency responders know how to handle an active shooter situation.

Aarika Camp, assistant dean of student services and director of Residential Life and Housing, said, “No campus is in isolation from an incident. Anytime you have students and community members on your campus, there’s a risk for something happening and we need to be prepared.”

Richard Walterman, associate director of emergency management, said that they are teaching students to follow the order of run, hide and then fight, in a crisis situation.

“We like to do our best to pick students who can take this information back to their peers,” he said. “Having students involved adds reality to the exercise.”

This year, 40 undergraduate and graduate students are expected to participate in the drill. Camp reached out to multiple student organizations to recruit people who want to be more involved on campus. She said she hopes the students who participate would choose to become leaders if a crisis situation did arise.

“Our students are not the kind who will just sit back or walk by a situation,” she said. “I think the students who chose to participate would take the lead if the situation called for it. They would know to call 911 or get help.”

Although NSU is providing emergency training, Camp and Walterman agree that students should not be overly worried about a crisis situation. According to Walterman, Davie Police has an officer on campus at all times and there are approximately 140 Public Safety Officers available 24/7 who are well-trained in campus safety.

Camp said the training is just a way to be prepared and provide an educational experience to students.

“The training will be educational and I think the students appreciate being involved in it,” she said. “The students know it’s for their safety.”

Students or staff with concerns regarding the appropriate actions in a crisis should contact Public Safety for more information. Comprehensive emergency management plans are also available on Public Safety’s website at nova.edu/publicsafety.

“This training gives us an opportunity to see what our true capabilities are and get our safety officials into different areas of the campus so they can be more familiar with the different locations,” Walterman said. “If you find yourself in a situation you’ve never experienced, you can at least have a plan in your mind to base your reactions off of.”

Walterman hopes to extend the training to other NSU campus as well.

Students are advised that guns and other weapons are not permitted on NSU’s campus. A complete list of forbidden objects is found in the Student Handbook and Residential Living Guide. Students should report any suspicious activity to Public Safety or call 911.

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