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Handling Emergency Situations at TAMIU

By Judith Rayo
On October 7, 2010

The top two university incidents that people may remember are Virginia Tech's shooting back in April 2007, and the University of Texas at Austin shooting incident in 1966. The point is, tragedy can strike at anytime, any day. The big question students may be asking is, how safe is Texas A&M International University? How will the university react during an emergency evacuation or incident?

  Fructuoso San Miguel III, Director of the University Police and Thomas Smith, Captain of the University Police has provided information on safety precautions to take in case of an unexpected emergency situation such as a shooter on campus.

  It is strongly advised for the students to register for the Dusty Alert. The Dusty Alert is a fast way of rapidly communicating to the students what is occurring on campus. This service can be subscribed to online on UConnect where students can choose to receive updates via e-mail or text message.

  The police on campus are officers trained by the state and are available 24 hours, seven days a week. There is currently one way to enter and exit the campus, which could be a positive and negative thing for the university. The positive enables the TAMIU Police to manage who enters and exits the campus. However, in the event that a mass evacuation is necessary, it could prove to be problematic if not hazardous. The Texas Department of Transportation has plans to pave the southbound road to add another exit to the campus. That is an idea that is currently still in the works and not yet confirmed.

  The campus holds approximately 17 emergency port units, and all it takes is a press of a  button to receive help.

  According to TAMIU police, report any suspicious individual on campus. Profiling someone may be difficult, but if a student feels uncomfortable around someone, or senses that an individual may carry something dangerous, it's best to report it. Students should not be afraid to speak up, either to the police or a faculty member. It's important to have a plan. Students are advised to lock themselves in a room or run to safety in case of a shooter on campus.

  A short 25 minute video has been provided by the Police Department that gives  an example on how to react in an event when coming face to face in a dangerous situation. The video has been viewed by Freshmen during Dusty Camp and is available upon request by the students. The police will gladly offer a lecture during class time if approved and requested by the professor. It is advised if students want to view the video, to form a group and request it by calling campus police. There is also talk of scheduling screenings in the Student Center theater and possibly posting it online on the TAMIU website.

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