The enigma of emergencies

Students don’t seem aware of Pierce’s emergency procedures

Rebecca Dickson, Reporter

While emergencies may not be the most pleasant event that can happen during a college experience, they can still happen. At Pierce College Puyallup, there have been more emergencies than usual on campus, including an evacuation in the Brouillet Library/Science Building, a carjacking and stabbing that put the campus on lockdown April 6 and an evacuation of campus in winter 2015.

Emergencies can happen anywhere, and Campus Safety has several emergency plans set up for students to follow.

During a fire, Campus Safety instructs students to pull a fire alarm, call 911 (9-911 from campus landlines) and then call campus safety. Students and faculty are instructed to use up to two fire extinguishers to control a fire; if two fire extinguishers don’t end the fire, students and faculty are expected to evacuate the building immediately with their immediate belongings, including coats and keys. If trapped inside, community members are instructed to stay close to the ground and repeatedly call for help.

In case of an earthquake, students are to stop, drop and hold underneath a surface. Afterwards, students are to evacuate if it’s safe to do so and attempt to administer first aid to other students. First aid supplies can be found in the Health Education Center, the Child Development Center and the Administrative Building.

If there’s a volcanic eruption from Mount Rainier, students should stay inside and shelter in place, as going outside may expose students to volcanic ash. Faculty and administrators should close all doors and put up signs not to open doors until further instruction is given.

During an active shooter scenario, students are to run from the situation if safe, hide if unable to run and as a last resort, fight if necessary.

If a student is notified of a bomb threat, they are to quickly notify someone nearby to tell campus safety immediately. Campus safety requests that students attempt to keep the person on the phone for as long as possible, asking questions such as where the bomber placed the bomb, what it looks like, what type of bomb is it and why the caller placed the bomb at that location. Also, students should note the time of day, location, date, phone number and exact wording of the bomb threat. Evacuation procedures will then take place, and students should be expected to wait outside for a minimum of one hour.

While there is no listed emergency procedure for stabbings, Campus Safety does note that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security states that an active shooter is defined as “an individual actively engaged in killing or attempting to kill people in a confined and populated area; in most cases, active shooters use firearm[s] and there is no pattern or method to their selection of victims.”

In addition, there are no listed emergency procedures for carjacking or robbery, yet, Campus Safety does state that there’s more specific information in the college’s Multi-Hazard Emergency Operations Plan. Campus Safety also lists emergency procedures for behavioral intervention and crisis support, but neither of these appear to be geared to the carjacking and stabbing incident which occurred recently.

Students at Pierce don’t seem aware of what exactly to do in case of an emergency.

“I would probably go where security said and lay low until I figure it out,” Jaden Boatmen said. “I think maybe a basic overview (of emergency procedures) would be helpful. Just standard operating procedures in a college success class or other intro class that everyone has to take.”

Other students say that getting out wouldn’t be a problem, as they could always drive away.

“It (all) depends,” Jasper Baillie said. “Natural disasters, no, (I don’t know what to do because) they are wildly unpredictable. Man made issues, yes, (I know what to do). I can just drive away.”

The Puyallup Post is the award-winning news media of Pierce College Puyallup in Puyallup, Washington. Copyright The Puyallup Post 2018. Find us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Youtube @thepuyalluppost

Rebecca Dickson

The enigma of emergencies

by Rebecca Dickson time to read: 3 min