How to protect yourself if someone dangerous enters the building
By Katie Czenczek, News Editor
It’s mid-September already, and this year’s school lockdown drills focus on how to stay safe while a violent intruder is on campus.
From September 6 to September 12, both Douglas College campuses partook in a simulated drill where students and staff were expected to follow the procedure for a real lockdown emergency. While many drills have focused on earthquake or fire emergencies in the past, this one was specific to dealing with a human threat. These drills happened throughout the morning and early afternoon, interrupting some classes.
Announcements went over the PA system, warning students that the drill was about to start. Following the warning, a lockdown alert went off, the same that would be used in an emergency. Students and faculty not in a classroom when the lockdown alert went off were told to get to the nearest room and wait there until given the all-clear message. Washrooms and large open areas—such as the cafeteria, gym, or concourse—are not considered safe places to hide if an intruder enters the building.
The main takeaway from the drills is to avoid trying to exit the building if a violent intruder enters the building. According to Douglas College’s lockdown procedure posted on their website, students are not supposed to “leave [their] place of shelter or open [their] door until [they] have been advised it is safe to do so by police, emergency response personnel, campus security, or campus administrators.”
Dr. Robin Wylie, a History professor at Douglas College, said that the lockdowns were important to practice but should have been adapted for specific classrooms.
“It’s a good thing to do, unfortunately,” he said. “One to think about though is that some classes face the courtyards [at New West campus], so turning the lights off and covering the windows wouldn’t be particularly helpful if an intruder were really to come.”
Lockdown alerts are issued through the PA system at both campuses, DC alerts, campus security, floor wardens, or a campus administrator. No one is supposed to leave the building during a lockdown, even if the fire alarm goes off, unless notified otherwise by paramedics, firefighters, police, campus security, administrators, or if you personally see an open flame.
Maddi Russell-Cowie, a second-year psychology student at Douglas College, participated in the lockdown procedures last week and said they were helpful.
“I think they’re important to do so students know what to do in a real emergency,” she said. “Panic is the absolute worst thing for a situation like that and if we know what to do, hopefully it will make everyone feel safer.”