Active Shooter False Alarm At USU Highlights Need For Emergency Training
Feb 20, 2019, 10:29 PM | Updated: 10:34 pm
LOGAN, Utah – A false alarm about an “armed aggressor” went out to the Utah State University community Wednesday afternoon, warning students and staff to “Run, hide, or fight.” The alert was mistakenly sent out as the university was upgrading its alert system.
A tweet from the main USU account read, “Code Blue: We’ve received reports of an armed aggressor on the USU Logan campus. Run, hide, or fight. Police responding. More info to come.”
Within about eight minutes, the university sent out an all-clear message informing students of the mistake.
“I started panicking immediately,” said USU senior Allison Larsen.
Larsen said she was in a class in the library when the alert came through. She said the people in her class were not sure what to do.
“One of the first things that our professor said to us was, ‘What do you guys want to do? What do we do?'” Larsen said. “Basically told everyone to get to the back of the room and she went to go lock the door, but there was no lock on the door. We started barricading the doors and turning off the lights and the projector.”
Utah State University spokesperson Tim Vitale said they heard several reports of people not knowing what to do in the event of a “Code Blue.”
“It has highlighted some shortcomings and we’ll address those with training,” Vitale said.
The university has installed four buttons in the dispatch room that will send out immediate alerts to the campus community. Two buttons, “Emergency” and “Active Shooter,” were already up and running Wednesday. Workers were activating an “All-Clear” and “Snow Removal,” when they somehow triggered the “Active Shooter” button. The buttons have been disabled while they investigate what went wrong. Once the system is up and running, though, Vitale says it will improve emergency response times on campus.
“With the punch of a button, this alert system would go out, so there’s no communication breakdown. It would be as immediate as we can get,” Vitale said.