RRC holds drills, info sessions for students and staff

David Clarke, RRC’s emergency preparedness coordinator, gives a lockdown info session on Oct. 13THE PROJECTOR/Erin DeBooy

David Clarke, RRC’s emergency preparedness coordinator, gives a lockdown info session on Oct. 13THE PROJECTOR/Erin DeBooy

The noise is loud, the message is clear, but RRC students have not been listening to lockdown drills.

“I get a lot of reports of people continuing to congregate in the hallways,” said David Clarke, RRC’s emergency preparedness coordinator. “Sometimes classroom doors are wide open and people are laughing.”

To help students recognize what to do when there’s a lockdown, Clarke has set up information sessions open to staff and students throughout October.

The most recent, lethal school shooting in the news happened at Umpqua Community College in Oregon on Oct. 1.

Recent publicity has put danger in schools in the spotlight so Clarke stresses the importance of being prepared.

“We are not immune. The chances of it happening [at RRC] are probably not high, but should the unthinkable happen, it’s really important we have our students and staff knowing what to do to protect themselves.”

RRC is committed to doing two lockdown drills a year. Although the province created mandatory lockdown drills in schools in 2013, Clarke said RRC is the only post-secondary school to continue the practice after highschool. “We basically observe how well people participate. That’s our emphasis,” Clarke said. “We want to develop that sort of muscle memory. When you hear it, you just know what to do. It’s quick and reactive.”

Despite efforts, participation in lockdown drills has been underwhelming, with less than a 50 per cent participation rate.

“Unfortunately, we’re doing this to try and enhance people’s safety, so we want people to be aware that this is important.”

Clarke is hoping to gain more awareness on lockdowns with the information sessions at all the campuses during the last two weeks of October.

The sessions run about 45 minutes and go over what a lockdown is and how students will be alerted. Clarke also shows two videos demonstrating the safest way to hide, evacuate or, if necessary, fight off a shooter.

Students and staff also have the opportunity to ask questions about RRC’s lockdown protocol or lockdown situations in general.

“I thought it was really informative,” said occupational health and safety student Jamie Kellner, who attended the Oct. 13 session at the Notre Dame Campus (NDC). “It’s scary, but we need to know what we should do in case it happens.”

When it comes to lockdowns, Kellner said she never thought about the option to work as a team and fight off an attacker. Fellow student Krisanne Campbell agreed.

“They tell you to run and hide, but it makes perfect sense to scrap it out if you’re behind a door that doesn’t lock,” Campbell said.

RRC does one lockdown drill in the fall semester and one in the spring. A warning precedes the drills in order to not panic students or staff who might be suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, Clarke said.

The last lockdown information sessions will be held at NDC and the Exchange District campus.


To the point 

Upcoming lockdown information sessions: 

  • NDC: (Green Lecture Theatre) Tuesday, Oct. 20 from noon to 12:45 p.m.
  • EDC: (A104 Lecture Theatre)

Upcoming lockdown drills: 

  • NDC — Oct. 27
  • EDC — Oct. 27
  • PGI — Oct. 28
  • Stevenson Campus — Oct. 28