Posted: June 16, 2016
By: John Bozick (Oakland Post)
In the wake of the Orlando nightclub shooting, Oakland University Chief of Police, Mark Gordon, taught faculty and students what to do in case of a shooting on campus on June 15. The program, which was requested by Channel 4 News, saw a little over 40 people attend.
Gordon believes that the more people are made aware of how to handle a shooting, the more likely they will be able to survive an attack by a gunman.
“The number one thing that kills people in a shooting is denial,” he said.
Someone who is in denial will begin to say things like, “I can’t believe this happening.” Instead of protecting themselves, they will begin to panic.
During the program, those in attendance were taught the three methods of survival: get out, hide out and take out.
The main plan should be to get out; students should call 911 and seek the safest way out of the building and off campus. The best thing to do is to keep moving, according to Gordon. This makes you a much harder target for the gunman. However, this is not always an option.
The hide out method should be used when students have no way of escape. They should find a safe and secure place to hide and should remain in the dark and away from windows through which the shooter may see them.
Those in a crisis should never leave, even if they hear a fire alarm, as many times a shooter will pull the fire alarm in an effort to draw those in the buildings out of hiding, Gordon said.
Gordon believes that unless you can clearly tell you are in harm’s way, you should never move from somewhere that is safe unless told to do so by the correct authorities.
The most important thing taught by Gordon was how to fight back against a shooter. This is known as the take out method. Those trapped in a room by a gunman should use anything as a weapon, including chairs, notebooks, or even pens and pencils to distract a shooter. Various items around the room should be thrown at the assailant to distract him long enough so that he can be tackled by a group.
Gordon stated, “Your survival rate increases tremendously if you stand up and fight the shooter.”
Gordon and Channel 4 had those in attendance act out a mock shooting where balloons were used to simulate gunshots, and a man armed with a plastic gun tried to enter the room. Those in the room were given plastic balls to throw at the fake shooter, while one student took it upon himself to tackle the “gunman.”
After the first drill, another one was conducted in which those in the room had to barricade the door in an effort to stop the shooter. In both drills, all those involved were advised to stay away from the door and try to hide until the shooter entered the room.
During any emergency situation, OU students are advised to text the emergency alert system. Students can sign up for it by sending OUPD to MRAVE or 67283. The OUPD’s emergency alert text system is the main way through which they will let students know if they are safe during an active shooting.
These presentations are available upon request to groups all over campus, with many members of the OUPD taking part in them. Hopefully, with enough training, OU students will be more than prepared if a situation like Virginia Tech were to occur on campus.