Campus Safety and Security clarifies emergency procedure terms

David Maly

Alterations to emergency campus instruction policies were issued this morning to prevent confusion in the event of future campus emergencies.

In a campus-wide e-mail alert this morning, Campus Safety and Security clarified the terms “shelter-in-place” and “lockdown” in their emergency instruction policies and also reminded students of the “5 Outs” procedure to follow in an active-shooter situation. Bob Harkins, associate vice president for Campus Safety and Security, said the alert was issued Wednesday on the 46th anniversary of the Whitman Tower Shooting to remind the UT community that shooter-related emergency policies do exist and to clarify terms to avoid the confusion that occurred with the Sept. 28, 2010 shooting.

“People were using the terms ‘shelter-in-place’ and ‘lockdown’ interchangeably,” Harkins said.

During the Sept. 28, 2010 shooting, confusion between the two terms caused a lot of confusion for the UT community, as its members were unclear about how to correctly follow campus instructions, Harkins said.

“Shelter-in-place” has now been defined as “a directive to seek immediate shelter indoors following the announcement of an emergency condition,” and “lockdown” has been defined as “a directive to stop access and/or egress as appropriate, to all or a portion of the buildings on campus.”

“The last thing I want in the case of a shooting is to gather people in a central location,” he said.

Harkins said the alert was in no way related to the July 20 shooting in Aurora, Colo.

The e-mail alert this morning also referenced a testing of the campus siren at 11:50 a.m. Harkins said the siren was supposed to go off once, but due to electrical difficulties, was actually triggered twice.

“The extra siren was a mistake, and there was no actual emergency,” he said.