By Takahiro Kurosaki / Staff Writer
By Takahiro Kurosaki / Staff Writer
It was not the typical morning Riverside City College faculty and staff members were used to; where they would spend their time preparing for classes and going about their daily tasks.
Instead they spent the morning of April 20 listening to lectures and discussing how they would protect their colleagues’ and students’ lives in a dire and dangerous situation.
As part of the Riverside Community College District Emergency Management Trainings, active shooter training for staff and faculty.
It enlightened the participants so that the college can take one step further toward the adequate protection against potential active shooter incidents.
The training aimed to teach the participants the effective strategies in an active shooter incident: how to deter, detect and delay a shooter.
In order to deter an active shooter, the training encouraged the participants to have and know the campus safety plan and emergency procedures.
The training encourage the participants to keep their eyes open to any suspicious things in order to detect potential campus violence.
It put emphasis on the lockdown procedures to delay an active shooter because faculty and staff members have to play a responsible role to take the procedures in an active shooter incident.
Also, since RCC does not have sophisticated facilities and systems such as intercoms in classrooms, knowing and being familiar with the strategies play a significant role when actual violence happens.
Through the training, the participants could have a strong sense of responsibility so as to minimize the potential violence on campus.
While learning the strategies through the lectures and discussions, the participants discarded the assumption that it would not happen to them.
“I think it’s really good that we got a chance to prepare before something happens,” said Sandy Mathay, administrative assistant. “Many people coming today didn’t know what to do to protect not only ourselves but also coworkers and students.”
Among all the materials used in the training, table-top scenarios especially enabled the participants to apply what they learned to an actual shooter situation by visualizing their own responses.
“The instructor went through not only educational aspects but then scenarios at the end,” said Clara Garibay, health service supervisor.
“We were involved in the provided situations by asking what you would do if you were there,” Garibay said.
The training was also designed to enhance the visualization by learning the lessons from the past active shooter incidents; such as the mass shooting at Columbine High School in Colorado.
However, they confronted the participants with the hard fact of a shooter situation in which people have to save and protect the majority of people compared to the few or the one.
Garibay said that the most thought-provoking part of the training was the fact that the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few or the one.
Leading the training as an instructor, the Emergency Planning and Preparedness Coordinator Sherry Stone emphasized the importance of the training for the campus personnel.
“I think sometimes we have to concentrate on the academic and running smoothly the organization,” Stone said.
“But we also have to consider the fact that we have somebody on campus,” Stone said.
The training was a good opportunity to trigger the awareness of an unpredictable active shooter among the participants.
Stone also said that what she noticed is that once people started taking training, they realize they need to know how to do it.
This type of training can also play an important role to promote the mutual understanding between campus personnel and the police officers.
“Because sometimes there is misunderstanding,” Stone said.
“The training is important for faculty members and staff to know not only what to do for themselves but why the police officers have to do what they need to do,” said Stone.
The close cooperation has begun to be built at RCC in order to deal with an active shooter incident.
With the administration and the campus police working together they can help students with the information on a shooter.
“I can go back to my department and not only share this information but highly encourage others to attend,” Garibay said.