By Vaidik Trivedi
The Stony Brook University Police Department made an initiative towards gun control by hosting its third “Survive an Active Shooter” event in Roth this Wednesday.
The year 2018 had the highest number of incidents with 82 recorded K-12 school shootings, since 1970. The event, hosted by the police department, featured demonstrations, practical advice on how to handle oneself in an active shooting situation and a general talk about safety in a hostile environment and what actions to take.
During an active shooter event, survival may depend on the actions one takes in the first few moments of the event.
“These situations are dangerous and are often over very quickly and reacting quickly can save your life,” Eric Olsen, assistant chief of police, said. Olsen said that the reaction time of university police is approximately two minute on-campus, and every patrol car is equipped with an AR-15 rifle, tactical shield and kevlar protection to deal with such horrific situations.
The UPD told the students to be prepared to run if there is an escape route, hide in a place where the shooter cannot see you or fight with aggression if you are cornered.
Assessing the situation before running to the closest escape route is advised in times of active shooting scenarios.
“If someone with you freezes in the moment, leave them there and run for safety,” UPD said. “You reaching to safety is priority number one.”
Blocking the door with as many things as possible may increase the chances of survival.
Olsen advised students to not engage into combat with the assailant unless necessary. He instead instructed them to ensure their safety and wait for the police department’s intervention.
“This is not a TV show where you get next episodes,” Olsen said, while discouraging students to over imagining such situations.
Students also engaged in a Q&A session where all their questions were answered. Students were reminded to call the university police department number during times of distress and keep all electronics silent. Students also interacted with various safety gear during the talk.
“We all have these great ideas that we all see in TV shows and movies but real life situations are really different from them,” Jihelle Walked, a junior at Stony Brook said. “In the end, getting home alive is all that matters, and such events are helpful for that.”
The “Survive an Active Shooter Event” is available for every organization on campus.
“We do open forum events like this one and for active faculty and staff if they request it,” Joe Bica, a UPD officer for more than 21 years, said. “People can ask us for such events online on our website and we will be happy to help.”
The UPD assured students that more than 300 residential housing members are trained to deal with shooting situations, but being alert can save many lives.
Additionally, students could walk away with a pocket guide with detailed instructions to help themselves in an active shooter situation.