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Responding to an active threat on campus: Know what to do

Dec. 8, 2016, 3:21 PM

V-acorn-logo-250x250The recent attack at The Ohio State University in which 11 were injured, and which prompted a lockdown of the sprawling Columbus campus for nearly two hours, is another reminder that universities—though they are havens for the pursuit of learning and scholarly knowledge—are not immune to internal and external threats.

Being familiar with campus emergency procedures is critical to the safety of campus community members and can enhance first responders’ ability to contain a threat.

As a university, Vanderbilt trains annually for large-scale emergencies that could affect its campus and works closely with Nashville emergency responders—the Metropolitan Nashville Police Department and the Nashville Fire Department—to prepare for a coordinated threat response. The university also looks to the best practices of federal agencies such as the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security in developing training that can provide campus community members with both an understanding of the first responders’ protocols during an active threat, and the safety measures they can take in an emergency.

Key resources available to Vanderbilt community members include:

· Emergency preparedness website—Training guides and information regarding a number of emergency situations, including an active shooter event, are included on the website.

· Campus Emergency Guidebook—A copy can be downloaded here.

AlertVU_logo_fi· AlertVU—Vanderbilt’s emergency notification system is used in the event of any type of emergency that poses an imminent threat or danger to the Vanderbilt community. The system automatically sends emergency notifications to all Vanderbilt email addresses; however, subscribers also can register their cellphones, landline phones and personal email addresses to expand the ways in which they can receive these important alerts. Information provided by subscribers is private and will not be shared. The service is available free* to students, faculty and staff. To register, update an existing account or find out more, visit the Emergency Preparedness website. *There is no charge to receive AlertVU messages. If you choose to receive text messages, however, your cellphone carrier may charge you to receive them.

· Desktop Alerts—The AlertVU desktop alert program displays full-screen desktop alerts on workstations and on desktops across the university and medical center on which it is installed any time the AlertVU system is activated. If you are not sure if the desktop alert program has been added to your desktop, have questions, or would like to request the service, contact VUIT at 343-HELP. The desktop alert program operates behind the scenes and has no impact on the day-to-day performance of the computer. When AlertVU is activated, an alert will appear on users’ screens. Users will be asked to acknowledge that they have received the notification and to then take action as directed or resume normal activity.

SafeVU logo· SafeVU—A mobile safety application for iOS and Android smartphones, the free app allows users to connect directly from their cellphones to the Vanderbilt University Police Department. With SafeVU users can contact VUPD for emergency services with two easy taps on the screen and view emergency guides. If users are connected to Vanderbilt Wi-Fi and have selected to either call or text VUPD, a new feature allows VUPD’s communications officers to see users’ locations inside any Vanderbilt building. The new geo-location feature allows VUPD to respond even when users are unable to give their location. SafeVU also allows users to submit nonemergency reports to VUPD with text, photos or videos; submit information to VUPD anonymously; assign contacts to monitor their safety; and access information about the Vandy Van service.

Contact: Johnny Vanderpool, director
Office of Emergency Preparedness
(615) 566-1119

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