Editorial: Shootings spark new safety tactics

We’ve read about it. We’ve seen it on the news. We may know people who live in those areas of the country. We may live near them ourselves. Yet unfortunately, it isn’t as rare of an occurrence as we wish it was.
As a society, we aren’t strangers to gun violence and school shootings that occur throughout the U.S. With the recent December tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Conn., schools and institutions nationwide are improving their security in an effort to increase safety for everyone. Incidents such as this come without warning, but there are always things you can do to ensure you are in the safest position possible. Rider is no exception to that and is revamping its safety training for the benefit of students, faculty and staff.
Though Rider is an open and welcoming campus, safety requirements existed prior to the change in regimen. When students come to Rider as freshmen, they are told how to sign up for RiderAlert, which sends phone calls, voice messages and text messages to students when there is an emergency or school closing. Throughout both campuses are blue-light phones outside most buildings and parking lots at which you can call Public Safety in case of an emergency. Resident advisors and directors all serve as protectors in each residence hall, equipped with walkie-talkies while on duty. These are helpful and important resources to have on a college campus, but it isn’t enough in these trying times.
While Rider has previously had most of its security bases covered, there is always more it can do when it comes to prevention. Recently, a new training method called the “five outs” was created and implemented by Lawrence Township Police Department (LTPD) along with Public Safety, to prepare students and faculty with a better plan in case of an emergency.
According to the safety-training document that will be in every classroom, the “five outs” are: figure out, get out, hide out, take out and call out. This strategic plan offers different “out” options for any specific situation.
In high school and grade school, lockdown drills are the norm and run with the frequency of fire drills. Students are told to hide under their desks or in a specific corner of the room and stay quiet, while teachers scurry to turn off the lights and lock the door. While it’s very common to hear the blare of an alarm and to be forced outside in the cold for a fire drill, lockdown drills don’t happen.
Rider’s adoption of the “five outs” plan is a step in the right direction. Students should feel safe on campus and feel that the university holds their safety to the utmost importance and with this plan of action, the administration will allow students to feel that way. Rider has measures in place for other safety hazards; with schools shootings making headlines more frequently, the “five outs” program is crucial knowledge for students.
Public Safety is planning on having a training video on the “five outs.” The video should be available to students soon by email and be viewable permanently on the website. The quicker the information is seen by students, the more prepared they will be. It is up to students at that point whether or not to delete the email blindly or to watch it, but information that could assist student safety should be available quickly and be easily accessible.

The weekly editorial expresses the majority opinion of The Rider News. This week’s editorial was written by Opinion Editor Kristy Grinere and Managing Editor Rachel Stengel.

Printed in the 2/15/13 edition.

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