UMPD hosts presentation on how to respond in active shooter cases

University police held a presentation encouraging faculty, students and staff to form a plan in case of an active shooter.

Natalie Rademacher

The University of Minnesota Police Department hopes to raise awareness on proper protocol in active campus shooter cases in a presentation Wednesday.

The UMPD held the meeting for students, faculty and staff on the St. Paul campus and demonstrated how best to respond to active shooters.

UMPD Sergeant Jim Nystrom spoke at the event, encouraging those present to think about their personal environments and use the resources around them to make a plan of action during active shooter cases.

Nystrom said in recent years, police departments across the country have adopted a three-step plan — run, hide, fight — to help prepare individuals in incidences involving an active shooter.

RUN:

If the opportunity is available, civilians are encouraged to run as far away from the situation as possible.

“Get as far away from the potential harm as you can,” said Nystrom. He encouraged individuals to find a designated meeting place with classmates and coworkers, in the unlikely event that individuals are forced to flee or evacuate. This way, it will be easier to know who is accounted for.

People are also encouraged to leave their belongings behind and take actions necessary to protect yourself.

“You are our number one priority,” said Nystrom. “We need to keep you safe.”

HIDE:

The next step to take, if the chance to run does not present itself, is to hide.

“Get out of the shooters view,” Nystrom said. “If the attacker can’t see you, you aren’t there.”

He also emphasized the importance of remembering to silence cell-phones and remain as quiet as possible. During the presentation — held in the St. Paul Student Center Theater — Nystrom walked the audience, composed mostly of faculty, through possible places to hide. “Use what you have around you,” he said.

“The key is concealment,” said Nystrom. People are also encouraged to lock or barricade doors. “It may not stop the shooter, but it will slow them down,” said Nystrom. “This provides the opportunity for people to do something else, such as run or hide.”

FIGHT:

This is the last resort, said Nystrom. The goal is to incapacitate the shooter. Nystrom said the key is to use available resources as a weapon.

At the presentation, audience members called out things around them that could potentially be used as a weapon, like laptops and a fire extinguisher. Knowing what objects are available as potential weapons could allow a civilian to incapacitate the shooter, buying enough time to escape.

“The key is to do something,” said Nystrom. “During the 9/11 airplane attacks, people stood up and did something, and it saved more lives than we will ever know or understand.”

“Commit to your actions,” he said.

Nystrom emphasized how important it for a person to respond during an emergency situation, such as an active shooter on campus. He said it is comforting to him as an officer knowing that people are aware of their surroundings and have taken time to think through and have a plan.

“The premise behind this presentation is this: If we talk about it and get you to think about it, then in the unlikely event anything ever happens, you will hopefully have a plan in place and can act accordingly,” Nystrom said.