We are all too familiar with the tragic school shootings across the country that have taken the lives of many in recent years. Experts say that the rate of these tragedies stands statistically unchanged since the late 1990s. Over the past few years, the University of Rhode Island has taken steps to make life here on campus safer and help students feel more comfortable.

Director of Public Safety, Stephen Baker, said that after being armed with guns on campus, the police have gone through a great deal of training, including scenarios that involve an active shooter. “I think we’re as prepared as we can be,” he said.

The campus police department has completed training in very realistic scenarios with the North Kingstown Police Department acting as the perpetrators. “We actually use simulation, almost like a paint gun except you’re using your own firearm with a simulated bullet that puts pain on you and it hurts when you get hit,” said Baker. 

By the end of the semester, Baker said that URI is planning for a full-scale test of the emergency alert system. The system was upgraded in August and one internal test was completed after the semester started. “Now we want to do a full-scale testing invluding the blue light phone system so the whole campus community can see how it operates,” he said.

A video can be found on the university’s website that shows students and faculty what to do when there is an emergency situation. The department of Public Safety urges students and faculty to ask questions about where to go or what to do. “We would like to see more people getting involved for more of those things. It’s a community effort,” said Baker.

To learn more about URI’s Emergency Preparedness video, go to: http://www.uri.edu/emergency/