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Trainings help students prepare for life-or-death situations

“There are three options when being in a crisis situation and those are to run, hide or fight. The best option is always to run,” said Amy Luna, Fresno State’s Emergency Operations Manager.

That was the message during emergency training sessions on campus this week.

The first sessions were held Monday and Tuesday. The next session will be held Thursday in Henry Madden Library Room 3212. to offer students, administration, faculty and staff in a way to learn ways of gaining leadership in a life-and-death situation.

“Our goal in the presentation is teach you to evaluate your environment and identifying the tools that are going to best help you survive the first seconds of an emergency,” Luna said.

Luna said that the best option in an active shooter situation is to shelter in place in a classroom by hiding away from windows, locking or barricading the door, turning off lights and maintaining silence.  

If you’re not able to run or hide, the last option is to fight with tools you may see on a day-to-day basis to use in defense can be right in front of you, such as heavy objects like book bags, any sharp office supplies, fire extinguishers and even potting soil from a plant to rub in the shooter’s eyes, Luna said.

Fresno State Police Chief David Huerta elaborated on three crucial actions that need to be addressed and those are plan, prepare and perform.

“Incidents of school violence are planned events – have an escape plan,” Huerta said.

Toward the end of the session, participants were broken up in groups of three to read over a specific scenario and work together to prepare, plan and escape.

“You are a first responder, leadership is not a position or a title, it’s an action and leading by example,” Huerta said. “Leadership is important in a crisis; someone needs to step up.”

The more people that are trained in what to do in a time of need, the better the outcome. Fresno State’s Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) will be trained in the program, Huerta said.

“I think the session was very informative,” said Aaron Cook, a library student assistant. “The most important thing I took away is to try to figure out what to do instantly with where you’re at if there was a shooter.”

Luna said that active shooter training started on campus about nine years ago. The university constantly refines and revises its presentations to make sure it’s current and has the best information for the campus community.

This version, Second 2 Survival, has been going on for three years and was initiated after the Sandy Hook shooting in 2012. The program is a little bit more of a direct approach to situations such as that, Luna added.

The one and a half hour session showed participants a handful of school shootings to bring awareness that it can happen anywhere and to always be prepared.

The presentation also talked about the response time it takes when responding to a 911 call. A 911 call takes 60 to 90 seconds, first arrival of law enforcement on site 2 to 10 minutes, first wave of officers 10 minutes and second wave of officers 15 to 30 minutes, Huerta said.

During a crisis, it is extremely important to provide clear and accurate information quickly with location, the location of suspect and suspect description, Luna said.