By Pete helms
Campus Life Editor
Schoolcraft prides itself on being a safe environment in which students can learn and study. While the college does all it can, from employing a campus police force to implementing the new RAVE emergency alert system, the first line of defense will always be the awareness of the student body.
Being vigilant to emergencies is the first step in preventing an escalating situation. A watchful eye can be the difference between a small fire and a burned-out shell of a building. Do not neglect your other senses, however. The scent of smoke or flammable gasses and the sound of shouting can be indicators of an emergency, too. Be aware of fire alarm, extinguisher, and AED locations, as well as egress routes and shelter-in-place locations near your classrooms.
Report all emergencies, threats, and suspicious activities to the Campus Police Authority at 734-462-4424 or call 911. Never assume someone else has reported the emergency unless you know for sure help is already on the way; it is better to over-report an emergency than not at all. Be sure to follow all operator instructions and be as thorough as possible when giving information to the authorities. Never panic—panic never helps and may make the situation worse.
In case of a fire, make sure to pull the nearest alarm and notify anyone you see to evacuate. As you are evacuating, take your belongings and make sure the last person to leave closes all doors and windows in order to choke the fire and keep it from spreading. Avoid elevators and other hazardous areas. Make sure not to re-enter a building until given the all-clear by emergency responders.
Gas Leak or Chemical Hazard Emergencies
In the event of a gas leak or chemical hazard, avoid using any light switches, alarms, or other devices which may cause the material to gas to explode. Close doors and windows to prevent access to or the spread of the hazardous material. Contact authorities from a safe location, making sure to provide as many details as possible, including the type and quantity of the material, the time and location of the incident, and whether or not anyone has been injured.
Medical emergencies are commonplace, be they in the classroom, on the field, or elsewhere on campus. It is important to respond quickly if the emergency is life threatening. Make sure to check for breathing and a pulse when you call emergency responders and follow their instructions when rendering aid. However, you should never put yourself in danger in order to render someone else’s aid.
Weather emergencies are common in Michigan; Schoolcraft has experienced two in the last six months alone. It is important to monitor weather forecasts and pay attention for RAVE alerts to know when such emergencies may occur. In the case of tornadoes, know where the shelters are located; maps exist in all buildings showing their locations. In the case of flooding, shut off all unnecessary electrical equipment to prevent electrocution, secure vital equipment or records if safe to do so, and evacuate to higher ground. In the case of snow or ice, avoid travel if possible and stay indoors to prevent frostbite and exposure.
In the event of a violent situation, such as a bomb threat, suspicious package, or active shooter, the first priority is to call 911 from a position of safety. Gather as much information as you safely can, and in the case of a bomb threat, make sure to keep any phone lines open with the caller, noting the time, incoming number, and the caller’s exact words. In the event of a shooter, determine the best way to get to safety by running, hiding, or as a last resort, fighting. If you take shelter, lock the doors if possible and barricade your position. If you see a suspicious package, note its location and contact the authorities. Never touch a suspicious package!
Follow this advice and you should find your time at Schoolcraft safe and enjoyable.
*Featured image courtesy of Google Images.