“Person with a gun reported near Dietrick. Stay inside. Secure doors.
Emergency personnel responding. Call 911 for help,” was the message
displayed on Virginia Tech’s website Friday morning.
Public safety officials at VT weren’t going to take any chances. Three juveniles on campus for a summer camp at the school reported seeing a gunman near Dietrick dining hall just after 9 am Friday morning. Officials decided the report was credible and made the decision immediately to issue an alert to students and put the school on lockdown.
Students and faculty were no doubt haunted by memories of the massacre that happened there in 2007 when VT student Seung-Hui Cho gunned down 32 people before turning the gun on himself. Today, though, no one was hurt and police have made no arrests, but they did release this composite sketch.
Virginia Tech and schools across the country have learned from the past. Most colleges have beefed up their security measurements as technology has allowed for more direct alert systems.
Columbia University in NYC has a text message alert system as well as an online checklist in case of emergencies. On it, students are advised to turn off lights, close blinds, and take cover behind concrete walls, thick desks and filing cabinets in the event of an “active shooter incident.”
New York University has a list of emergency safety locations on its department of public safety website. MBJ Dry Cleaners on West Houston Street and Ben’s Pizza on MacDougall Street are among dozens of places throughout the city that NYU has deemed “safe havens.”
Like Columbia, NYU also has the capability to issue text message blasts to students and faculty in case of emergency. But students need to register their up-to-date cell phone numbers through the school’s website before they can get those alerts.
Does your school have a text message alert system? Have you registered yet?
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