By Pam Wright
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
When dealing with an active attacker or shooter, the key words are run, hide and fight.
That’s the protocol St. Clair College students are instructed to follow if such an incident occurs while they’re at school.
Rebecca Demchuk, associate vice-president of securities and facilities management for the college, said it’s an unpleasant topic to deal with, but one that’s totally necessary.
“We have training and communication that is educational,” Demchuk said. “We want our students to know what their options are.”
Demchuk’s comments came during a mock attack simulation staged at the school April 13. The scenario involved students, college leadership, security officers and the Chatham-Kent Police Service.
“The point is that it can happen,” Demchuk. “Unfortunately. We need our students to be aware of their surroundings at all times and to know what to do.”
Everyone on campus participated in the active threat simulation. Students watched videos in their classrooms, learning about various ways to deal with attacker. Locking doors, erecting barricades, cautioning to remain quiet, how to contact emergency services and what to do when police arrive were all part of the instruction.
Students and teachers are also advised to download the St. Clair College safety app, which keeps them apprised of imminent danger – including weather events.
“We have really good participation on downloading the app,” Demchuk said. “The more we train in these types of situations, the more people use it,”
College security supervisor Robert Pierce, who was in charge of communicating updates via the P.A. system agreed.
“I think it’s good practice for everybody,” Pierce said.
From a law enforcement perspective, CKPS Sgt. Jason Herder said it was a great way for police to become familiarized with St. Clair’s outer buildings and construction.
“It’s a great training,” Herder said. “We can test our protocols and safety equipment and find out what we can do better. We’re happy to be a part of it.”