USU Emergency Managers Look to U of U Shooting To Improve Their Response
LOGAN, Utah – Learning from tragedy is never easy, especially when it happens to people close to home. Judy Crockett, Emergency Manager at Utah State University says almost immediately after she got word of the shooting at the University of Utah, she had to take a critical look.
“Our number one priority is the safety of the students, faculty and staff,” Crockett said. “And so, when situations like this arise, we look at them very seriously.”
Crockett will meet with first responders, and student affairs Thursday to take a close look at how the shooting was handled, looking for ways to improve their response at USU. James Morales, Vice President of Student Affairs, says with such a large campus to manage, those types of emergencies are difficult to handle.
“I think they did an excellent job,” Morales said. “These situations are very unpredictable. We’re public, very permeable spaces; university campuses are. It’s very difficult to control your borders, and who comes in, who comes out.”
Both Crockett and Morales agreed staff at the U did a good job of keeping the public informed through alerts, social media, and through an alert page on their website. http://highalert.utah.edu/
“One thing we are constantly working on is communication to the university community,” Crockett said. “And getting the correct information out in a timely manner; how it’s logged and how people have access to it.”
A recent addition to those communication efforts at USU, includes a “one-button” system, that can send out generic alerts in case of a major emergency. Large, and clearly marked red, yellow, and green buttons are on the wall for “active shooter,” “general emergency,” and “all clear,” respectively.
“Those buttons will tie into our emergency alert system,” Crockett explained. “When something goes down, the dispatcher will be able to push the button, and send the emergency alert out.”
At the same time, staff at each university often keep in touch. Both Crockett and Morales say seeing them deal with this tragedy hasn’t been easy.
“Our hearts just break for them,” Crockett said. “It’s just a tragic, tragic situation.”
“Our hearts go out to them,” Morales added. “We support them if they need us in any way.”
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