Hope for best, plan for worst

While members of Congress continue to struggle in reacting to the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary, closer to home, experts are helping educators and administrators prepare to handle similar emergencies.

Thursday, four such individuals gave a preview of a presentation on making plans to deal with an active shooter on a college campus. The panel – Tiffin University communication professor Jan Samoriski, criminal justice professor Scott Blough, Director of Campus Security Jennifer Boucher and Tiffin Police Officer Doug Skornieka – intends to deliver their presentation at the University Risk Management and Insurance Association Midwestern Regional Conference May 30-31 in Columbus.

The panel wants to address issues that arise from choices school officials make as they plan for situations such as active shooters. Panelists pointed out the importance of having a security plan and an emergency response plan, and being able to manage communication, especially with first responders.

The panel’s moderator, Robert Orr, who is dean of TU’s School of Criminal Justice, said the main message is to think through problems ahead of time and work with faculty and staff so everyone knows what do.

A month ago, a two-day ALICE training program was conducted at North Central Ohio Educational Service Center in Tiffin. The acronym stands for Alert-Lockdown-Inform-Counter-Evacuate, and teachers, faculty and administrators learned how to increase the likelihood of surviving a horrific event such as the one in Newtown, Conn.

Later this summer, law enforcement officers are to take part in RAIDER training – Rapid Deployment, Awareness, Intervention, Decisiveness, EMS and Recovery.

It may be impossible to prevent tragic events that have occurred in schools and on campuses. But it is possible to be better prepared to handle another one.