If there is ever an active shooter event at UAA, Emergency Manager Ron Swartz wants you to remember to “Run! Hide! Fight! Treat!” This motto is designed to remind people to find safety for themselves first and then to prevent bleeding in others who may be wounded.
On Feb. 14, 17 students and teachers were killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. Swartz said he has never dealt with an active shooter event at UAA, but he said his department works with the University Police Department to remain trained for these incidents.
“It certainly is plausible. Most of the northern states in the U.S. have a relaxed gun culture. Certainly in Alaska specifically, we have the open carry provisions, so that nearly any adult can carry a gun around Anchorage,” Swartz said. “We do have Board of Regents policy that says [everyone has] to secure the gun in their car before they come in the building.”
Prevention and Mitigation
One of the main ways faculty, staff and students can prevent someone in crisis from becoming an active shooter is by reporting them to UAA’s Care Team. The Care Team uses community members to refer students who are in crisis and showing behaviors like threats to self or others, talk of suicide, hurting others, emotional outbursts and class disruption. Anyone can report students to the Care Team by going to www.uaa.alaska.edu/CareTeam or by calling the care team office at 786-6065.
The UAA Emergency Operations Plan states that other prevention methods include policies that enforce safe conduct of patrons and restricts possession of firearms.
The emergency plan also outlines steps the university has taken to mitigate damage in an active shooter event. In any emergency, the UAAlerts system would send texts, emails and social media posts about a campus security emergency. The university has also installed twist locks on the inside of “centrally-scheduled” classrooms so that students can lock a classroom without a key. There are also landline telephones in most offices and classrooms that can be activated by UPD and used as speakerphones to alert people in the university of an emergency. On Feb 23. the university ran a test alert of the telephone systems to try new software.
Kirstin Olmstead, University Advancement Public Relations and Marketing manager, said the Incident Management team, which consists of members from UPD, the Dean of Students, Facilities and University Advancement coordinate responses in an emergency.
“The Incident Management team is a group of four people who come together in an event of a crisis. That’s really any unplanned event that could threaten the health and welfare of members of the UAA community,” Olmstead said.
Chief of Police, Brad Munn, said UPD’s first priority would be to stop the active shooter. UAA’s Incident Action Plan for Employees and Students during an active shooter event states that after stopping the shooter, the police will evacuate victims, arrange for medical care, counselling, interviews and then gather evidence of criminal activity.
The action plan states that students should barricade or lock doors, turn off any lights and hide in their classroom if they cannot escape from the building.
“The more you’ve been in this line of work, the more you have to know that… Unfortunately, it’s to the point now you can’t say, ‘if it’s going to happen,’ but, ‘when it’s going to happen,’ and how are you going to respond,” Munn said.
Swartz wants you to remember to be your “own first responder” and do what you can to “Run! Hide! Fight! Treat!” Students and faculty can request active shooter training from Swartz’s office for free. For more information contact Swartz at 786-1149.