By Lisa Behnke
Preparations are underway for the 2nd annual shelter/secure-in-place drill at the Ammerman campus. The purpose is to practice essential safety skills to avert a potential threat on campus.
Working with faculty and administration, John Williams, director of public safety, is laying out the plans for each building on campus to participate in the drill. Drills have already been completed at both the Riverhead campus and the Grant campus.
The idea is to secure your place, as best you can, and make it more difficult for a gunman to find you. The longer you can slow a person down, the better the chances you’ll have security and a police presence on scene.
Cooperation between professors and their students is the key to its success. “They both need to understand the process better and become more efficient at doing it,” said Williams.
Faculty and administrators are given a checklist to follow for the drill. Students are also encouraged to follow a checklist which can be found on the college website.
Here are the steps the College suggests you take in case of a threat on campus:
1. Turn off any lights.
2. Close windows, blinds or shades, if present.
3. Lock entry door and windows, if possible.
4. Block entry door with available furniture, chairs, etc.
5. Move all people in the room away from doors and windows as best as possible.
Along with these suggestions; officials also advise being calm and not opening the door for anyone. During the drill you will be given an “all clear” by the public safety or college official.
The need for such action stems from the Virginia Tech killings, April 16, 2007 that made national headlines. Cho Seung-Hui, 23, killed two students in a dorm, and two hours later killed 30 more students in a classroom building. His suicide brought the death toll to 33, the most deadly shooting rampage in US history. In addition, 15 other students were wounded in the attack.
“Safety of the students here at SCCC is of utmost importance to the administration,” Ammerman campus Executive Dean William Connors said.; therefore, a committee was formed to incorporate the best and most current safety procedures.
“This drill is designed to raise awareness so that if an event was to occur, it would not be the first time students would be preparing for it,” said Williams. “They (the drills in each campus building) should take less than 10 minutes to complete.”
On hand to participate in the drill will be the Suffolk County Police, Suffolk County Fire Marshall’s office, and the Deputy Inspector of Emergency Services.
“This drill will benefit the College,” said Security Officer Simmonetti, a campus security officer, who will be helping to coordinate the drill on the grounds.
The Shelter/Secure-in-place drill will begin at 9 am, March 31 and will take place one building at a time allotting for 20 minutes per building until the completion of the drill.
For those students in the Babylon Student Center cafeteria, provisions will be made to move them either to the Dover area or the faculty dining room.
In the Huntington Library, staff will move students to designated rooms as well.
After the events of 911 and the development of the Department of Homeland Security, being informed of a potential threat became paramount. Ensuring that the nation is prepared for emergency response by federal, state, and local officials has become a coordinated effort.
Available for anyone to subscribe to, is the NY Alert system. It Is an All-Hazards Alert and Notification system. The website contains critical emergency-related information, including instructions and recommended protective actions. You can receive notifications by either e-mail, or cell phone. Information includes severe weather warnings, significant highway closures, hazardous materials spills, as well as many other emergency situations. New York State Terrorism Tips Line If you see something suspicious, contact your local law enforcement or call: 1-866-SAFE NYS (1-866-723-3697)