With the rising number of mass shootings in the United States, NYU’s mass shooting procedures are now more pertinent than ever to student safety.
According to the Gun Violence archive’s definition of mass shootings — any incident where four or more people are wounded or killed — there have been 361 mass shootings in 2016 alone.
Although there has not been a mass shooting at the university, Washington Square News interviewed NYU Director of Emergency Management Jeff Stevens about the university’s policies and procedures in the event a shooter appeared on campus.
Washington Square News: How does NYU prepare for the possibility of a mass shooting?
Jeff Stevens: NYU takes preparedness for all emergencies, including active shooter, very seriously. We constantly train our personnel and work to improve our processes to provide the community with the safest environment possible. We have hosted numerous exercises to test our plans and procedures for an active shooter incident as well as regularly monitor events throughout the world to see how we can advance our capabilities.
WSN: What are the school’s initial emergency procedures when there is threat or event of a mass shooting on campus?
JS: If an active incident occurred on campus, NYU would rapidly notify the NYPD and other NYC agencies to respond as well as activate our emergency notification system. NYU’s emergency notification system, NYU Alert, has the ability to notify the entire campus community regarding any emergency via text and email. It is important that students, faculty and staff provide up-to-date contact information in systems like Albert and PeopleLink as this is what NYU utilizes to populate the emergency notification system.
WSN: How does the administration advise students to react during the emergency of a mass shooting?
JS: During an active shooter incident, those in the affected area would be reminded to follow the Department of Homeland Security’s training of “Run. Hide. Fight.” Those not in the affected area would be asked to stay away for their safety and so that responders can deal with the incident. It is important for each person to review the steps of “Run. Hide. Fight.” and review areas they are in regularly to identify what they would do if there was an active shooter incident.
Steven also shared the following tips:
- Always know two exits — When traveling around campus and NYC, always keep aware of where at least two exits are so you can rapidly escape in any emergency.
- Run — Try to get out of a building and away from the area. If you cannot run away from a threat, remember that large buildings sometime give you the ability to get away from the assailant by going up.
- Hide — If you are unable to escape, try to find an area that you can lock and barricade. Use desks, chairs and any other heavy item that you can find to barricade the door, then turn off the lights and silence your cell phones.
- Fighting is a last resort. However, if you must fight, commit to your action and make use of improvised weapons such as fire extinguishers or chairs.
“During this or any emergency, individual preparedness is key. NYU works closely with New York City Emergency Management to promote preparedness for any emergency,” Stevens said.
“During the last week of September, the Department of Public Safety held a social media campaign, #PrepareNYU, aimed at improving emergency preparedness at NYU.”
Email Jemima McEvoy at [email protected].