Faculty in training for safety

With the start of a new term comes the possibility for new threats.

In response to these concerns, the Division of Public Safety has added several new programs to help initiate a safer campus.

This week, the department released protective action cards, which are “double-sided cards that provide information on what to do in a fire, when there is a shooter, said Paul Latham, emergency management coordinator for public safety. “They will be readily available in every (classroom) in case of emergency.”

Along with the protective cards, the safety department has produced hurricane planning guides, which can be found online, to help prepare the campus for the hurricane season.

“The hurricane planning guide is a different flavor of what kind of actions the campus would take to prepare themselves,” Latham said.

Last year, two gunman scares occurred on campus, putting many students and staffers in potential danger. To prevent faculty from feeling unprepared in the event of a gunman or similar emergency, USF offers a course that helps them to prepare for any future danger. This course began during the summer and will last as long as people wish to attend.

“We recommend students should attend, not just faculty,” Latham said.

Latham said that, starting today, students can view a gunman safety precaution video, the same video shown in the course, online when they log in to Blackboard and click on the “Announcements” tab.

The video consists of training on how to react if a gunman is present and how to cautiously avoid any threats.

“The staff was interested in watching the video,” said University Police (UP) spokeswoman Lt. Meg Ross. “It is an effective tool in teaching the community on how to respond.”

The program is designed to give attendees knowledge on how to react in a shooting situation. So far, Latham has heard “nothing but positive feedback” from those who have participated.

“In the forums that we did over the summer, 1,100 students attended. We plan on a couple of open forums … you should anticipate more forums in September,” Latham said.

If any departments are interested in having the video displayed during classes, they can contact the Division of Public Safety and arrange a time for the video to be presented, he said.