Cautious and prepared

By Pulse Staff

The post-incident response at Michigan State University after the active shooter incident Monday, Feb. 13 included a large effort in post-traumatic management.

Jodi Firsdon, University of Findlay Director of Counseling Services, says UF has an emergency operations team that Counseling Services is a part of, that would assist in a crisis and post-incident response should something traumatic happen on campus.

“Counseling Services also has a plan in place to manage mental health concerns would an emergency arise,” Firsdon said. “We would offer counseling to students, faculty and staff.”

Firsdon says like MSU, UF would call on the surrounding community to help as well.

“We have the ability to call in counseling members of the community to assist in debriefing, if necessary,” Firsdon said. “We would also provide the campus with psycho-educational groups to assist in processing through the trauma.”

Skylar Mettert is the Associate Vice President for Safety and Wellness at UF, and he says the University would use its Crisis Response Plan (CRP) in response to a traumatic event.

“In a major incident, the University’s Emergency Operations Team would work in coordination with UF Campus Safety/University Police, along with first responders from the City of Findlay, Hancock County, and the State,” Mettert said in an email interview. “These entities would assist in addressing the situation, and provide guidance/support to the campus community during and after the incident.”

The CRP includes guidance for campus response during incidents such as an active shooter, bomb threat, chemical/hazardous material spill/release, psychological crisis, radiation emergency, and more.

“Campus community members are encouraged to familiarize themselves with the emergency procedures so that they’re better prepared in the event of an emergency,” Mettert said.

Mettert also says an important component to UF’s response is how it would communicate with the campus community during an incident.

“The University would utilize a combination of Oiler Alert (text message and email), the PA systems integrated into the Code Blue stations across campus, and the paging system on campus phones,” Mettert said. “Students and employees are encouraged to keep their cell phone numbers updated in Workday, as this will ensure they’re able to receive Oiler Alerts via text messaging.

Mettert says there’s a strategic approach to practicing for these types of situations.

“UF has provided opportunities for individuals to participate in active shooter training, and this is something we can certainly continue to offer,” Mettert said. “In addition, members of the Emergency Operations Team receive training on incident response, as do Residence Life Staff.”

But there’s a reason students have not been included in the training response in the past.

“In our experience, drills typically involve campus officials and area first responders actively testing crisis response plans,” Mettert said. “Drills must be conducted in a safe and conscientious manner so as to avoid any undue panic, and may/may not include the general campus community.”

Mettert says a post-incident response would include physical and mental health support for the campus community.

Firsdon says the 988-crisis hotline is also available for crisis counseling.

“It is understandable with the recent events that students may be having a difficult time,” Firsdon said. “If a student is struggling currently, please reach out to CS (Counseling Services) to schedule an appointment or come to walk-in hours.”

Walk-in hours at the Bucher Center Counseling Services are Tuesday from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. and Friday from 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.

You can read Proactive Personal Protection in the “If it happened here…” series here.