The significance an emergency drill’s importance on campus is called into attention as the number of mass shootings and vicious attacks across the nation rises.
With over 300 mass shootings this year alone, 23 of which have occurred on college campuses, according to the Mass Shooting Tracker, it is evident that earthquakes should not be the only disaster we should prepare for on our Southern California campus.
Taking note of the US’s lacking in current gun control and mental health being a possible issue on every campus, including Citrus College, why are we not inclined to take drill situations seriously?
Tweeting while crouching under your desk or crossing the street to Tommy’s Burger while evacuating does nothing to prepare us for an emergency, yet it is seen being done during every drill. The lack of preparation, while seemingly harmless, is a key factor in the lack of readiness should life-or-death danger make its way to Citrus.
As we pull up to the curb of Citrus each morning to receive an education, we remain unknowing if our day will include protecting ourselves from a fragile-minded shooter holding a loaded gun. The recent events throughout the nation clearly demonstrate the reality that although students should be able to expect a safe environment on campus, it remains impossible to guarantee.
Despite the fact that violence on school campuses remains a heavy topic to discuss, we understand that there is a long journey before said topic is diminished.
This journey begins with preparation and practice.
Not every email sent from Citrus College lying in your inbox gets read, or even acknowledged. Step one of preparation begins with ensuring that subject lines contain information about emergency drills and are paid the utmost attention. The details of what date and time the next planned drill will take place allows you to plan ahead.
Come the scheduled day and time, it is vital to take the time to learn your surroundings. As a matter of fact, study your surroundings in the days leading up to each drill knowing that in a real emergency, you may be in any location or class on campus. The significance of this includes the ability, in the case of an actual emergency, to automatically know the quickest and most effective paths to safety.
On the day of the drill, laptop screens will flash and alarms will sound, the emergency drill has commenced and in actuality, lives may have already been taken should this not have been just a drill. Follow directions and remain conscious of all possibilities.
Are you shielded should something fall or a shooter walk in? Is your phone on and dialing campus safety or off and avoiding possible ringing and giving away your hiding location? Is there a clear path to exit, and what path is possible if the first is blocked?
The students around the nation that did not have the luxury of knowing their campus shootings “were just drills” understand first hand that when emergencies take place, preparation goes a long way.
There was a time in our lives that these drills were just a fun excuse to get out of class and join our friends on the field for an hour while teachers took headcount and “fake” cleared our class of no injuries. But after 23 college shootings just this year alone, it has become a matter of life-or-death that we take something once leisurely as just that, a matter our lives.