UAHuntsville Drills Safety Procedures with Planned Campus-wide Lockdown

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – Wednesday morning, UAHuntsville went into a campus-wide lockdown.  It was a planned drill to test out campus security measures and procedures in the event of a threat.

The normal peaceful morning at UAHuntsville came to an abrupt halt at 10 o’clock.

That’s when students and faculty were asked to practice what they would do in the event of a threat on campus.

WHNT NEWS 19 had a crew inside the Von Braun Research Hall when staff members received their emails and text alerts telling them of the pretend threat.  They immediately followed their safety plan and assembled in a specific room, silenced their cell phones and other devices, then turned out the lights to wait for an all-clear notification from the university to come around 10:30.

“I think it went pretty good,” said Gloria Greene, a faculty member, said of the drill.  “I think we got everybody, basically..where they needed to be.”

Greene went over the procedures with her colleagues discussing what they could do better and how they would have handled an actual threat.

“It’s comforting,” said Greene about drilling security procedures.  “I think it’s important that everybody be aware of what to do in situations like this.”

It’s also something she went through for real in 2010, when Amy Bishop Anderson opened fire on her colleagues in a faculty meeting, not far from Greene’s building, killing three people.   Greene said the university had a plan in place to react to such threats at the time, but didn’t practice it.

“The first time we actually put it into practice was during the Bishop shooting,” she said.

University officials say now, drilling their safety procedures is a routine exercise.

“It’s very reassuring, I think for all of us,” said Greene.  I think it’s a way that, first of all, it tells us that the university is aware that a situation similar to the Bishop [shooting] can happen again and that we need to be prepared.”

There were few students on campus Wednesday morning because the fall semester hasn’t begun yet.

Employees who didn’t receive alerts about the pretend threat in their email or cell phone were able to update their information to improve the campus-wide communication.

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