Information cards part of UWRF campaign to teach about active shooters

Posted April 9, 2017

The UW-River Falls Police Department, along with the Emergency Management Team, is finding new ways to provide the campus community with information on active shooter situations.

Most students at UWRF have already received training on how to react in the event of an active shooter at their previous schools. UWRF Police Chief Karl Fleury understands that most faculty and staff have not.

“When I was going to school we practiced the tornado drills, the fire drills. We never practiced active shooter because that was not what was going on in our society or in the world. We didn’t have the terrorist events or different things. That has changed,” Fleury said. “With that change, we have to implement active shooter training, and have that type of notification system in place, and that’s what we’re doing to make sure we stay up to date with it.”

Fleury and the Emergency Management Team at UWRF have put together a folded card, about the size of a credit card, with instructions on “Surviving an Active Armed Assailant.”

The card details how to respond, what to do when law enforcement arrives and information that should be provided to law enforcement or a 911 operator. There is also a section on how to be prepared with a link to a training video. The card includes the phone numbers of the UWRF Police and the Director of Risk Management.

After the cards were made, the next step was distribution.

“They were distributed to faculty and students. When there is new student orientation they will be handed out there, when the next incoming class comes in, they will be distributed at those times when they have their freshmen orientation,” said Fleury. “It is a process that will keep repeating.

“Our hope is that people either put it in their wallet, hold onto it or at least look at it and have access to it and review it. Even if we give them the opportunity to at least read it once through, they have some type of knowledge and some type of exposure,” said Fleury. “That is one of things that we are looking at as a success, is the fact that it is getting that exposure out there.”

Alisha Coddington, a sophomore at UWRF, was able to pick up a card. Coddington attended high school at Baldwin-Woodville in Wisconsin and did not receive any active shooter training there.

“It was never something that we practiced and it never came up.”

Coddington saw the card and looked it over.

“I think it is important information to have,” she said. “Especially since it is something I haven’t learned about.”

Fleury says the cards are all part of a process in keeping the campus community updated on safety procedures.

“This is something that we have to keep fresh and keep that knowledge out there. Our campus turns over every year. We have new students coming in every year. We need to make sure that we are able to have the message out there for everybody so they are familiar with it,” Fleury said.

When it comes to safety procedures and preparation for an active shooter situation, Fleury wants to stay ahead of the game.

“It is our due diligence to do what we need to do to keep our campus community informed and safe,” he said. “We are not immune to it. It can happen anywhere, any time, any place. If we are not prepared for it, if we don’t do those steps, if we don’t make sure that we have these things in place then things could turn out a lot worse. We hope to never have to use this.”

The cards were given to students in residence halls and can be picked up at campus buildings like the University Center or the Police Department and Parking Office located in the Regional Development Institute building.