UNCW holds active shooter exercise on campus

UNCW holds active shooter exercise on campus

WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - Since Columbine, we’ve seen countless school shootings across the country.

It’s something we hope to never see here. But if the unthinkable were to happen, UNCW police and more than 20 other agencies want to be as prepared as possible.

As the clock tower struck 9 a.m. on an eerily empty campus, a call came across an officer’s radio.

"This is a drill, this is just a drill, we have a report of an active shooter inside Randall Library at this time,” a voice called out.

“I wanted it to be as realistic as possible with the restraints that we have to work with,” said Chris Bertram, asst. chief of police at UNCW.

The UNCW Police Department and 20 other agencies, including law enforcement, fire, and EMS from New Hanover and Brunswick counties all took part in a large-scale active shooter drill.

Just after 9 o’clock, officers rushed Randall Library, the rest of the drill reflected the haunting images of active shooter situations we’ve seen time and time again.

Students and staff role played victims for EMS to treat and transport, while others staged in buildings across the campus were sent running to safety as officers cleared buildings one by one.

“It gives us the opportunity to get all the three main disciplines, law enforcement, fire, and emergency medical to work together in an exercise, and that’s just something we don’t do unless we have an exercise of this scale,” Bertram said.

Though this was just a drill, campus police hope it serves as a reminder that you have to be ready for anything.

“We train our employees and we train our students to react to the situation that occurs. They’re given basic rules, it’s run, hide, or fight, and they need to decide what is the best course of action to take based upon the situation they find themselves in,” Bertram said.

From those first shots fired, until the final mock press conference, the entire event took under two hours.

The drill left two victims and the gunman dead and over a dozen others hurt.

UNCW PD wants students and staff to return for the fall semester knowing what to do if an event like this were to actually occur.

“We train our employees and we train our students to react to the situation that occurs. They’re given basic rules, it’s run, hide, or fight, and they need to decide what is the best course of action to take based upon the situation they find themselves in,” Bertram said

University police also sent out a statement after the event that read:

“We are satisfied that our exercise was a success, both logistically and in terms of increasing awareness of the importance of emergency preparedness. We will continue to analyze today’s exercise, but at this point we want to thank our employees and students, our volunteers, and especially our community partners for their collaboration and support today.”

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