Fortunately, this frightening emergency call was part of a drill. The annual Eastern Washington University Police training exercise is designed to simulate a situation that could very well play out on campus, and those involved know they must be prepared.
“We practice this because it continues to occur in K-12, in higher education,” says EWU Police Chief Tim Walters. “It’s just part of what we have to deal with on a yearly basis.”
This year’s training took part in JFK Library on Aug. 22. The scenario involved a shooter barricaded on the third floor, while emergency teams tried to rescue two victims in the basement.
“In this scenario we have the active shooter cornered and secured, and the other teams are coming in to extract the survivors.”
This rescue and recovery exercise included local fire departments who had to coordinate resources to act quickly, efficiently and safely.
Chief Walters points out every detail of the training session is scrutinized because there is no room for error if the real thing happens.
“We want to make sure that our timing windows are good because there’s a certain amount of time that we want to get to our victims, the survivability rate decreases as time marches on so we’re timing our units off of how quickly they respond and get to their victims.”
And while no one wants to think about what might happen in an actual active shooter situation, Walters reminds everyone on campus to think about situational awareness at all times.
“If you see something, say something. We want to get in front of these things in the prevention piece of it before we get to this place.”
(Be prepared, learn more about EWU Alerts).