By JAY REY
Published March 22, 2023
Shuntell Schmigiel hopes she never has to live through the horrors of an active shooter, but she also wants to be prepared.
“I want to know what to do,” said Schmigiel, a custodian in University Facilities.
That’s why Schmigiel and nearly 60 other UB employees and students recently attended an active shooter training session in the Student Union led by Deputy Chief Joshua Sticht of the UB Police Department.
In an age of mass shootings, the department often provides active shooter training at the beginning of each semester and upon request. Those requests have been on the uptick since the May 14 shooting at the Tops Markets on Jefferson Avenue, while the recent shooting on the campus of Michigan State University has served as a sobering reminder for all to remain vigilant.
Here’s what UB police want you to know:
Despite the media spotlight on mass shootings, the odds of being involved in an active shooter event are still extremely low, Sticht said.
“We provide this training with the hope of making our community more resilient — not more fearful,” he said. “Think of what we recommend in this training much in the same way you look at wearing your seatbelt: You don’t expect to be in a car accident, but it’s always better to be prepared to protect yourself.”
All UB students and employees would receive an alert email. But they must sign up to receive text messages, which are critical when there’s such an emergency and need to take immediate action. If you haven’t already, go to the site to register.
Run. If circumstances allow, always try to evacuate. Leave your belongings behind, don’t take video and help others — but don’t delay, Sticht said. Run away from the location of the threat.
“We need you to move far away,” Sticht said. “If you’re not sure if you’re far enough away, keep going.” Once you are out of harm’s way, contact family and friends to let them know you are safe.
Hide. “Removing yourself from the location of the threat is almost always the best option whenever possible,” Sticht said. “But if you don’t feel you can do so safely — hide.” Lock or barricade doors; hide behind large, dense objects; and remain quiet.
“This is essentially what is meant by the term “lockdown,” Sticht said. “‘Locking down’ is something you will need to decide to do for yourself, based upon your specific circumstances, at your specific location, at that specific time.”
Fight. “Always, always, always a last resort,” Sticht said. It’s important to remember there is strength in numbers. Communicate with the people around you, work as a team and do whatever you have to do to protect yourself, he said. “It’s actually a stunning number of times this has worked.”
Once police are on the scene, keep hands up and palms open, because it may be difficult to immediately assess if someone is a suspect, victim or bystander, Sticht said. And, he said, remember the primary focus for police is to search for the shooter. They will not initially stop to assist the wounded.
Prevention may be the most critical step, Sticht said. He encourages the campus to report behavior that may be concerning.
“Remember who active shooters are; they are typically members of the community who feel isolated or mistreated,” Sticht said. “The best prevention is to provide assistance and intervention for individuals before they become violent or suicidal.”
The presentation lasted an hour. Afterward, Schmigiel, the facilities worker, said she was appreciative and felt better prepared.
“It was really good; very informative,” she said. “Just listening about key things to do — that was helpful for me.”
I have taken this and it is very helpful and informative. Thanks.