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USF Preparing Teachers in Case of Campus Shooting

Posted on August 19, 2010

One doesn’t often think of personal injury prevention preparedness on a college campus, but that is exactly what they are teaching at the University of South Florida in Tampa.

Since April, school officials have conducting sessions for about 700 USF staffers, faculty and students to train them on what to do if there is a gunman on campus. Twenty-eight “active shooter” training sessions have covered such topics as developing a “survival mind-set” which includes reacting when shots are heard and not just becoming a passive victim. Participants are taught when to get out of a building even if it involves a life-or-death scenario.

Developing “resistance” is the key.

Then there are the signs to look for when someone is experiencing a meltdown before they become violent. They would include a change in appearance and attitude, a failure to turn in homework, and shouting or becoming withdrawn.

Of course the chances of this happening on any college campus are very small, but the world became of the potential for violence on campus most recently in 2007 when a Virginia Tech student became a shooter and murdered 32 people, before killing himself. Last October, USF also experienced a bomb hoax that froze the campus for three hours.

The training features a 20-minute video produced by the Center for Personal Protection & Safety, a Spokane Washington company. Not only Fortune 100 companies but more than 900 campuses, including Florida State and the University of Florida have been trained. The video is called Shots Fired on Campus.

Not only does this training help, but USF has set up a siren system that can be heard campus wide. An auto e-mail system will alert about 66,000 people immediately if there is a shooter on campus.

The video is available online with a USF log-in and password.