With an increasing amount of violent incidents occurring on college campuses, emergency responders say the ability to act quickly and effectively is crucial. And while some colleges hold meetings to discuss their preparedness plans, Hamilton College takes a much bolder approach.
More than 50 members of local and state police, fire departments, and campus safety came together for an intense and life-like drill meant to test teamwork, readiness and response times when disaster strikes.
Here’s the scenario: After being fired, a college employee kidnaps a student. Then, he gets involved in a high-speed chase that turns into a fatal car accident on campus.
“He came back up here in a high speed pursuit, and got into the accident you just saw and then fled into the woods,” says Steve Dziura, EMS Chief of Central Oneida County Volunteer Ambulance Corps.
While everyone is just acting for the scenario, law enforcement says practicing like it’s the real deal is the best way to prepare.
“People yelling and screaming causes stress to the responders, you don’t want to hurt anyone so adding all these realistic elements helps push them into the moment,” says Dziura.
“Play how you practice, we bring in emergency responders to test our systems and its invaluable to what we learn today,” says Fran Manfredo, Hamilton College Campus Safety Director.
It’s also a learning experience for all agencies involved.
“This fosters great relationships between everyone so in the case of an actual emergency that we’ve seen happen around the country more and more, we’re already prepared and have the relationships built to work together and make the incident run a little smoother,” says Dziura.
In addition to the various law enforcement agencies involved, 30 community members also helped to play victims, witnesses and hostages in the emergency scenario.