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Monday, February 6, 2023

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UH-D prepares with active shooter drill


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In a staged active shooter drill on the UH-D campus, law enforcement officers, emergency responders and university personnel came together to perform an exercise that has been done by other schools in order to prepare for a mass casualty incident. | Courtesy of Roland Hobbs

A joint effort between law enforcement and emergency responders executed active shooter drills at the UH-Downtown campus in mid-August, but the UH Police Department has yet to say if the main campus will see any such emergency preparation.

Active shooter drills are used to prepare students, staff and emergency response agencies for a mass casualty incident. The drills that were performed at UH-D were used to find the best course of action for law enforcement and UH-D personnel in a shooter situation.

The execution of these drills on major university campuses brings with it problems that smaller institutions don’t have to deal with. UH-D biotechnology junior Annastasia Brandley said she saw the complexity of bringing several different agencies together for a simulated-shooter drill.

“I don’t believe it’s necessary unless there’s a real threat directed toward campus that all students should be aware of,” Brandley said. “Populations on campus would be interrupted — not just busy students that are trying to carefully get ahead.”

These drills may pose an obstacle for the general populace, but they have proven to be helpful to first responders involved with them.

Roland Hobbs, director of operations at North Channel Emergency Medical Services, was heavily involved in an active shooter drill that took place in the Galena Park Independent School District. Like the event that took place at UH-D, the drill focused on safety and coordination between departments.

With so many different agencies involved, Hobbs said communication would be the weakest link.

“Issues that hindered our response were radio communication with law enforcement,” Hobbs said. “We have started a working committee to address the different entities and multiple radio frequencies.”

Different terminologies, procedures and objectives raised problems, but this is the reason these drills are run — to improve.

“Overall, I believe that lessons learned will help all organizations grow and become more efficient,” Hobbs said.

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