In wake of Virginia Tech shooting...CU Office of Public Safety gives tips for public safety
By LeAnne Davis, Editor-in-chief
Date: April 18th, 2007

In light of the tragic events recently taking place on the Virginia Tech campus, Concord University's Office of Public Safety would like to ensure the Concord family of the safety measures being taken locally to prevent such events, and what actions to take if they would occur.
Mark Stella, Chief of Campus Police, said "What happened at Virginia Tech is very tragic, and unfortunate. With circumstances like this, a lot of media will be criticizing the measures taken by the school to handle the situation. Given the situation itself, it is hard to prepare for something like that. Here at Concord, we're doing all that we can right now in prevention efforts."
The standard procedural guide for the Office of Public Safety as well as the campus at large is the Crisis Management book for Concord College. The book contains over 30 carefully detailed plans of action for every possible crisis that could take place, ranging from a campus shooting to severe weather alerts such as tornado warnings.
While the Crisis Management book is currently the active source for such outlines, Stella shared that the Office of Public Safety is currently drafting another "quick-flip" guide called the Concord University Quick Reference Outline, to be distributed at various locations across the campus. The book is currently being written and revised by Concord's Crisis Management Team, comprised of ten faculty, staff and Public Safety officials.
In this guide, events will be color-coded and condensed, making it easier for an individual to locate the section outlining any one particular crisis in a quick, efficient manner. Once that section is opened, the page contains four to six basic steps of action to be taken to ensure safety of self and others. Some of the tips both guidebooks provide for crisis situations include:
1. If one is taken hostage, be patient, avoid drastic action, call 384-5356, or ultimately, 911.
2. Avoid hostility, especially if being held hostage, or dealing with someone brandishing a weapon.
3. Always try to place distance between you and any attacker.
4. In a gun situation, lock all doors, move away from windows, and stay low to the ground.
5. Expect the unexpected
6. Be prepared, be patient.
7. Above all else, remain calm.
Additionally, the guide books include sections on emergency evacuation procedures, lock-down situations and hostage crises management.
"A situation like this is possible anywhere, at any given time. Given today's society, and the way some people are, it can happen anywhere at any time. Yes, it could happen here. I don't want to scare everybody, but the potential is here, it could happen at any school across the state."
In addition to these procedures that are already in place, Stella shared that the Office of Public Safety has been preparing to handle crisis situations in other ways as well. For example, the campus officers recently trained with the Mercer County Sheriff's Department S.W.A.T. team, to gain experience with violent and sometimes widespread situations. More recently, the campus safety officials have been pulling longer shifts along with dormitory resident staff in order to ensure the safety of the campus at all hours.
In regards to media responses to any crisis that might take place at Concord, the Crisis Management book also dictates that all media contact is to be conducted solely through Anita Moody, director of University Public Relations.
Finally, counseling services are being offered on the second floor of the Bonner House to any student affected by the current tragedy, and appointments can be made by calling 384-6009.
"If students have any questions, please contact me about any concerns. My door is always open, and I'd be glad to talk to anyone. I encourage them to get to know the Public Safety staff and the officers; we have a close-knit community. We know what's going on."
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