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Do You Know How to Protect Yourself if There is an Active Shooter or Threat on Campus?

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Do You Know How to Protect Yourself if There is an Active Shooter or Threat on Campus?

Nick Shakal

Nick Shakal

Nick Shakal

On Thursday March 15, Director of Security, Mark Petterelli told students and faculty to be aware of their surroundings in the event that an active shooter is on campus.


“I don’t want our community to live in fear,” said Petterelli, but he added: “We need to start owning our own sense of security.”  


Petterelli spoke of how great it is that Le Moyne’s campus is open but in case of a crisis he emphasized that people on campus should be aware of their surroundings and what to do in case of an emergency.


Although some may think that during a tragedy it is up to law enforcement and other emergency personnel to address the situation, Petterelli said that it starts with potential victims knowing what to do.


Petterelli gave tips that he said students and faculty should be aware of. For instance, security has a limit on how many words can be included in a heights alert (an alert system that everyone on campus is registered for through their email and can also register for through text message) so individuals need to know the terms that could be used. The following are defined in the “Campus Security Emergency Preparedness Guide” and/or by Petterelli:


Lockdown- This is if there is an “imminent threat on this campus” and it is important to “stay out of view, block access to your room, lock doors if possible, hide behind large objects, be out of the shooter’s view, silence cell phones, turn off lights and remain silent.”


Shelter in place- This is when things can continue to go on such as classes, but people are asked to stay put and not go anywhere.


Evacuation- “Run away from the threat if you can, as fast as you can. If there is an escape path, attempt to evacuate. Evacuate if others agree to or not. Have an escape route and plan in mind. Leave your personal belongings behind. Help others escape if possible. Keep your hands visible.”


To sign up for text message heights alerts, you should go to the Le Moyne echo page []. Scroll over “campus life” at the right hand side toward the top of the page. Then click on “Campus Security” and on this page under “Helpful Links” click on “Heights Alert”. At the bottom of this page on the right side click “create an account” and follow the instructions to sign up and verify your phone number.  


“We are not helpless,” Petterelli said. He said that 33 percent of the time potential victims are able to stop the violence before it happens when they know what to do.

Le Moyne’s plan is “Run, hide, fight,” said Petterelli. He emphasized that the order of these actions is important.


Although fleeing is recommended in the case of a threat, it is important to be smart about it. Petterelli reminded the audience that the Le Moyne campus is not the same as an elementary or high school because there are many buildings.


He said anyone in a safe place on campus where there isn’t a threat, should stay put and try to hide and lock the door and try to make the location look as if no one is there. [Le Moyne has locks on all of the classroom doors in case something like this were to take place].


As a last resort, if a shooter were able to get into a classroom or the location where people are, Petterelli said it is important to try to use anything as a weapon in order to prevent the shooter from being able to use their weapon.


“There’s no negotiation with these individuals,” Petterelli said.


“In case of an active shooting, individuals should call 911 directly and not campus security because campus security has at times only one dispatcher and under these circumstances there would be a lot of calls coming in”, said Petterelli.


“The Onondaga County 911 Center has numerous emergency call takers working at the same time and would be better equipped to handle the call volume associated with an Active Shooter Situation. Certainly if someone did call Le Moyne Security we would capture that information and relay it to the 911 Center like we routinely do now,” said Petterelli.


Under normal circumstances, if there is an issue on campus Petterelli urges students to call security because Le Moyne in reality has more than one address. Security is able to call the necessary resources and give them an exact address.


Fran Adams, who is the Administration Assistant of the Counseling Center said, “we live in a different world than we did 25 years ago.” Adams said that she has found Petterelli to be willing to work with individuals on campus if they feel unsafe on campus. Adams found that a major difference in advice given now is not to try to reason with an active shooter since people were told to do that at one point.

“I wouldn’t want it to be a prison,” Adams said when asked about the openness of the Le Moyne Campus.

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Do You Know How to Protect Yourself if There is an Active Shooter or Threat on Campus?