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University Emergency Management, UPD Team Up with Local Agencies to Prepare for the Unthinkable

ALBANY, N.Y. (Oct. 22, 2019) – The University teamed up with a dozen local agencies to prepare for a scenario we will likely never experience but will continue to train and exercise for regardless: an active shooter on campus.

On Oct. 15, coordinated by the Office of Enterprise Risk Management and Compliance and National Center for Security and Preparedness (NCSP), part of the College of Emergency Preparedness, Homeland Security, and Cybersecurity (CEHC), officers from the UPD, SUNY Polytechnic Institute, Guilderland, Albany, Colonie, Watervliet, New York State Police and Albany County Sherriff’s Department convened on the podium to simulate every stage of an active shooter situation in the library, from the moment the first shots were fired until the suspect was subdued and victims were tended to. They were joined by fire and emergency medical services (EMS) from UAlbany’s Five Quad Volunteer Ambulance Service, Albany Fire Department, Guilderland EMS and Mohawk Ambulance.

A key component of the exercise was practicing a technique called Rescue Task Force in which EMS personnel pair up with law enforcement to enter the scene together to begin providing life-saving services to the injured while the scene is active — rather than having EMS personnel wait until the scene is clear. This method, explained Stephen Conard, UAlbany’s emergency management coordinator, is increasingly being used in mass casualty incidents with marked success.

Following the simulation, administrators and other personnel at UAlbany met for a discussion to review the drill, identify areas of improvement to plans and procedures and discuss the recovery process.

“Part of this is simply life preparedness,” Conard said. “More than likely, this type of incident will not occur on our campus. But increasing the coordination of our police, fire, EMS and other providers as well as engaging students, staff and faculty in the training simply makes it so that everyone is more prepared and resilient everywhere.”

“For over a decade, the University has helped lead a statewide shift in the way law enforcement, EMS and fire agencies craft a unified response to complex violent incidents,” said NCSP Interim Director Jayson Kratoville. “I applaud the University’s vision in empowering us to apply that expertise right here at home. We hope this will continue to be a model for communities as they work to keep learning environments safe and effective.”

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A comprehensive public research university, the University at Albany offers more than
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