Doña Ana Community College (DACC) officials have protocols in place for a variety of threats and disasters. Generally speaking, officials send out communications and alerts as soon as possible when a situation occurs. However, DACC officials will not always have advanced knowledge or information about situations. What happens in one building or at one location or in one classroom may not be known by the people responsible for communicating campus-wide alerts before others learn of the situation. We do everything we can to communicate in a timely manner.
The role of law enforcement, first responders and security is to neutralize the scene to prevent or minimize the consequences of a threat. They have protocols in place and are not seeking to provide information; they are following their protocols. While you may want to know what is happening, the fluidity of situations does not always allow for timely communication.
Remember we all have a personal responsibility to know how to protect ourselves during threatening situations whether they occur at home, in public, at work, or at DACC. It is important to know what options you have and to prepare yourself for a possible threatening situation. Here are four things to consider.
- Each person needs to have a plan for when such situations arise. Having a plan is important whether at home, at work, here at DACC, or in the community. Unfortunately in today’s society potential events are more likely to occur than in previous eras. So have a plan.
- If you see something, say something. If you see something that concerns you, report it to the appropriate people. Know the important phone numbers and/or program them into your phone or write them in your contacts. Don’t be afraid to be mistaken.
- Become “situationally aware.” Each of us needs to learn to pay attention to our surroundings. I purposefully select certain tables in a restaurant with the thought in mind about “my plan” in case something happens. I am very active in public events in open areas and I’m constantly scanning for things that are unusual. I encourage each of you to think about how to become “situationally aware” so that when threatening situations occur you can take the actions you need to stay safe.
- Regularly review your plan and take time to think through your responses. When a time comes for you to act, you will then react, taking the actions you rehearsed. Educate yourself about safety. Prepare by talking with friends, family members and colleagues about your plan and how to connect after an event. Below is a training presentation recommended by the NMSU Chief of Police on how to respond to emergency situations:
DACC officials regularly review protocols and debrief each situation that occurs to evaluate and adjust our protocols as needed. I hope these thoughts help you as you consider your own personal safety both while you are at DACC and when you are away from DACC.
Renay M. Scott, Ph.D.