Campus successfully conducts large-scale crisis simulation
The new year got off with a bang, both literally and figuratively, when BGSU conducted a “mock shooter” exercise Jan. 5.
In a realistic simulation of three people with guns invading Olscamp Hall, campus police and about 100 volunteers partnered with more than a half dozen local and state law enforcement and emergency management agencies to practice their response in the event of a real crisis.
Overall, the exercise was an “overwhelming success,” according to BGSU Police Chief James Wiegand. Though the formal assessment is still under way, he said much was learned and it was an excellent training exercise.
“We verified that in these types of situations, there’s going to be a tremendous amount of confusion, Wiegand said. “But even with that confusion, the communications went pretty well and we were able to get information to the administration and the press in a timely manner.”
With the three-shooter scenario, a number of SWAT teams were able to participate. To truly test the officers’ response, the details were unknown in advance, calling upon them to use their training and skills to react effectively. The coordination and communication with the law enforcement agencies went smoothly, Wiegand added.
“Victims” were triaged in Eppler Hall and sent to Wood County Hospital, which either discharged them or sent them to one of three trauma centers in Toledo. A group of volunteers portrayed anxious parents and were housed in Perry Field House. A media center was set up in Mileti Alumni Center, also where Wiegand and President Carol Cartwright later held a press conference to discuss the event. The event was widely covered by local media.
Campus communications were an important part of the test. A series of email updates from the police was sent, and computer screens showed a special message on the University home page. Another communications element was the AlertBG text-message system. There was a lapse, however, when a delay occurred in getting the first message out due to a new protocol still in the process of being implemented. “When we discovered it was not yet up and running, we reverted to the old protocol and the message went out immediately,” Wiegand said.
In addition, had it been a real emergency, text message updates would have been sent throughout the event along with the email updates, but with students not back on campus, it was not deemed appropriate for a test.
Wiegand recommends that all faculty and staff participate in a “Shots Fired” safety training offered by the campus police, human resources and risk management. “We’ve given about 35 sessions already, and there are more scheduled,” he said. To attend a scheduled session or request a session, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Accolades for planning team
The success of the event was largely due to the herculean efforts of the planning team: Officers Shelley Horine and Larry Bateson and Corp. Mark Reef. “They really deserve all the credit and the accolades,” Wiegand said.
The three asked to plan to event and spent more than seven months on it. “They did all the preparation and planning. It was a tremendous amount of work,” the chief said.
The trio also solicited donations from many area businesses, who gave generously. The campus police would like to thank the following companies, organizations and individuals for their donations of food, supplies or services to the BGSU mock shooter drill. Their generosity made the event possible.
American Red Cross – Wood County Chapter
BGSU Dining Services
Bowling Green Fire Department
Bowling Green Police
Hancock County Sheriff’s Department
International Union of Police Association Local 103
Lake Township Police
Mancino’s Pizza and Grinders
Myles Pizza Pub and Sub Shop
Ohio State Highway Patrol
Wood County Hospital
Wood County Sheriff’s Department
January 12, 2009