The University of Colorado Colorado Springs – Are We Prepared?
The University has many assets in place to prepare for, respond to, and mitigate emergencies, both natural and man-made. Here is a quick overview:
Department of Public Safety
University Police Officers and personnel receive extensive first-responder training throughout the year. The Department utilizes National Incident Management System (NIMS) and Incident Command System (ICS) protocol and procedures. As first responders, the University Police have invested in a wide range of specialized response equipment.
During an emergency, communication becomes paramount. UCCS has incorporated an emergency notification system (ENS) called UCCSAlerts. The campus community may learn more, and register, at alerts.uccs.edu. The ENS will send an emergency notification via text message to registered mobile numbers, uccs.edu email accounts, Public Safety social media accounts, and via voice calls when appropriate. Public Safety will only activate this system during a campus emergency.
Floor Safety Liaisons
Every effort is made to register a Floor Safety Liaison on every floor of every building on campus. They provide additional assistance in building evacuations as well as coordinate floor duties for their building. Liaisons receive annual training on emergency and evacuation procedures.
Emergency Preparedness Guides
Classrooms and teaching laboratories all have Emergency Response Guidelines and Evacuation Procedures prominently posted within the room. These provide general guidelines on what to do during an emergency.
Behaviors of Concern
There are numerous myths associated with an active shooter or school violence situation regarding the types of behaviors that should be noted or are of concern. These myths include:
- The incident occurred “out of the blue”
- No one ever saw it coming
- He or she just snapped
- Most situations will resolve themselves if given a cooling off period
- Warning signs are always predictive of violent behavior
- Violence is Spontaneous, Random and Unpredictable
The reality is that:
- Threats almost always are present prior, such as an outburst of anger
- Erratic/abnormal behavior is a key warning sign of future violence
- There is often a personality conflict
- The offender carries a grudge of a perceived grievance
- There are outside conflicts or problems present
- The offender often blames others for their problems
- There are noticeable changes in behavior to include alcohol or drug abuse and changes in personal grooming habits
If you notice these warning signs or suspicious behavior, report your observations and feelings. You may call Public Safety directly at 255-3111, twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. Other campus contacts may include a Resident Assistant, your professor, the Counseling Center, or if you are a student employee talk to your supervisor. The bottom line is, tell someone. Don’t assume that what you are seeing is not important or not really happening.
Remember that this behavior may often result from frustration and a communication breakdown. Individuals can make a difference. Listen to “troubled” individual. People want to be heard and understood.
A safe campus is everyone’s responsibility.
Contact the Student Response Team
The UCCS Student Response Team assesses and coordinates responses to significant campus crisis situations or perceived problems and events involving UCCS students that threaten the quality of life. This can be an event that is accidental, occurs without warning, or which is intentional and meant to cause harm to our students or the campus community. The Team works to ensure communication between departments and across campus. The student Response team is made up of The Dean of Students, The University Counseling Center and Public Safety. Other resources may be called together based on the circumstances.
Awareness and Action
- Be aware of your surroundings
- Know building and room exits and evacuation routes
- For faculty, add response information to your syllabus
- Talk to new employees during employee orientation
If an event does occur on campus, you may be required to take immediate action. Here are some things to consider:
- Quickly assess the situation.
- Call Public Safety at 255-3111 or 911.
- Evacuate or shelter in place based on the situation.
- For more in-depth discussion of what you should do personally in a violent situation, follow this link to view the video “Shots Fired – When Lightning Strikes On Campus.”