Around the time I sat down at my computer on Monday afternoon to begin drafting a post on back-to-school safety, a gunman opened fire on civilians and police officers very near the campus of Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas.
I live in College Station, Texas, and my husband works for Texas A&M University.
Thankfully, my family members and friends are fine. Shaken and angry? Yes. Physically injured? No. Multiple other individuals, however, were not so lucky.
And so today, I will redirect my previously-planned back-to-school safety post in the direction of campus safety, more specifically, campus safety with regard to the kind of tragic and nearly unpredictable shooting event that took place Monday in College Station (and that sadly is becoming more and more common throughout our country).
I hope this brief but important post will spur incoming and returning college students to actively take steps to keep themselves safe once they set foot on campus this fall.
Big Picture Preparedness
- When you arrive on campus, seek out and participate in any available emergency preparedness programs offered by your college/university. Information will be provided about when to evacuate and where to go, when to stay put, emergency phone numbers, and additional campus safety resources.
- Sign up for your college/university’s mass notification system. On Monday the Texas A&M mass notification system alerted my husband to the situation and provided instructions on what to do and what not to do, and then my husband forwarded the messages on to me so I had the most up-to-date information and knew he was safe.
- Pay attention to the people around you and be aware of your surroundings. Make good choices, and do not knowingly place yourself in an environment that could become dangerous.
If you are a student, check with your school and campus police department for additional information about how to prepare for an emergency situation.
As someone who has witnessed both the human and environmental aftermath of natural disasters, I often find myself wishing there were something I could do to eliminate these events and the suffering that results. I can’t make them disappear, however, which is why I and many others support organizations like the Red Cross that focus on preparing for and responding to disasters so that what comes afterward – when the winds have died down, the water has washed away, and the blaze is extinguished – is less painful and life-altering than it otherwise would have been.
Today I find myself wishing there were something I could do to eliminate this “new” kind of emergency event and the suffering it brings. But just as is the case with natural disasters, I can’t single-handedly erase these events from our world. I can, however, do my (very little) part and share with others how to prepare for and respond to these scary events so that perhaps in the future the end result will be a little less tragic.