Training for emergencies

Bellevue College offers many faculty and staff training sessions about how to deal with emergency situations on campus. Dangerous Intruder Training days will provide the opportunity for faculty and staff to learn safety and awareness tips. The training was developed by a former Renton and Bellevue Police Officer who also has over 20 years of kung fu experience.

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The first of this series happened on Oct. 20, and was highly successful according to Evan Epstein. “The faculty and staff who were present were incredibly engaged, and there were a number of times during which the presentation was essentially put on hold and a group discussion developed,” said Epstein. The staff members discussed the prevalence of guns in society, as well as what to do if a gun is seen on campus.

Weapons are prohibited on campus, and even someone with a concealed carry permit can only  “store their weapons in vehicles parked in accordance with RCW 9.41.050 on campus provided the vehicle is locked and the weapon is concealed from view,” states the Bellevue College weapons policy.

Every potentially dangerous situation that could occur on a college campus is different, so there is really no particular way to prepare. Tuesday’s training focused instead on what questions to ask when dangerous situations occur so as to have something constructive to focus on when the fight or flight mechanism kicks in. The biggest emphasis of the training was to be aware of surroundings and to make plans based on one’s daily routines. For example, a staff member in an office can make note of all entrances and exits and prepare their own crisis plan in case of emergency.

The trainings are “not required, but it’s strongly suggested that members of the BC Community be aware of their surroundings, and that they know that there are courses and trainings available,” Epstein added.

The presentations also included advice based on the emergency guidelines provided by the Department of Homeland Security. A video was released, entitled “Run. Hide. Fight. Surviving an Active Shooter Event.” According to the video, “If you are to ever find yourself in the middle of an active shooter event, your survival may depend on whether or not you have a plan. The plan doesn’t have to be complicated. There are three things you could do that make a difference: Run. Hide. Fight.”

The main advice of maintaining awareness of one’s surroundings can be focused on the first steps by always having hiding places and escape routes planned out beforehand.

If a hiding place cannot be found, the last resort is to fight. This training provided some hands-on fighting lessons just in case staff or faculty ever encounters a violent situation.

This same training will be available to any staff or faculty that missed the first session in an effort to reach anyone who would like the information.

Although there are no specific plans for any training to be offered for students, similar advice would be given to them. Always know where the college’s safe zones are, focus on the surroundings, limit distractions and make sure to know what is happening.

Training schedules can be found on the BC webpage under Public Safety.