The president of Seattle Pacific University says extensive planning for an emergency like Thursday’s campus shooting undoubtedly kept the tragedy from being even worse.
“It is something that we work on consistently, constantly praying that it never occurs on this campus,” says Dr. Daniel J. Martin, SPU president.
Martin says immediately following the shooting that killed one and injured three others, the school activated the emergency-response system implemented several years ago.
“Certainly, I think that Virginia Tech heightened the awareness of all campuses to be prepared for an event like this to occur,” he said of the 2007 shooting by a gunman who killed 32 before taking his own life.
Immediately after the system was activated, an email and text message went out to the campus community notifying people of an emergency lockdown. Alerts were broadcast to each classroom via an electronic screen, and students and teachers were ordered to shelter in place and lock their door.
The school has held a number of drills to practice for a shooting, and Martin says he’s convinced the preparation played a big part in the quick apprehension of the shooter by a student security monitor and immediate response from campus security moments after.
“I’m very pleased and proud of their response,” he says. “I believe it did make an impact.”
Martin says the school has been through several lockdowns since he assumed his position in 2012 because of police activity in the surrounding neighborhood. But Thursday’s shooting was the first on-campus incident since the emergency-procedures were implemented.
The school posted the following notice on its website immediately following the shooting:
Campus in Lockdown
The campus is in lockdown due to a shooting in Otto Miller Hall. Check your text messages for emergency information. The SPU home page and @SPUnews on Twitter will be updated as information becomes available.
If you are in a building during a lockdown:
Do not leave the building Move to a securable area (such as an office or classroom) and lock the doors Close the window coverings Move away from the windows Get low on the floor Remain in your secure area until further direction or the all clear is given
If you are unable to enter a building because of a lockdown:
Assume that classes will be suspended until the lockdown ends Leave the area and seek safe shelter off campus Return to campus after the all clear is given (this notification will be sent via the SPU-Alert notification system)
Emergency Hotline: 206-281-2800 Notification System: [email protected] Home Page: http://.spu.edu/