From college campuses to small-town elementary schools, ISU police have been going around Iowa State with VIRT, Violence Incident Response Training.
“When I went through it in the summer, I had not really thought about what it would be like to have an active shooter on campus, and [while] you hear about it, and you think its not going to happen here, the fact is that it very well could happen here,” said Joel Hochstein, Birch-Welch-Roberts hall director.
Recently the community advisers at Birch-Welch-Roberts took part in the training at Maple Hall.
“For me, when I went through it, it really opened my eyes to the things that I need to do more often and be aware of, and I thought that it would be a good thing for CAs to go through as well," Hochstein said. "Often times CAs are the first responders to some things, particularly within the buildings, they're the ones that are confronting student behavior right away.”
Spencer Vore, community adviser at Bergman house and senior in accounting accounting, feels the training is a necessary part of being a prepared community advisers.
“I enjoyed it and felt that I got a lot out of it," Vore said. "I would say the biggest thing for me was that I thought it addressed some of those behaviors that you are taught in elementary school of what you should be doing during an active shooter, which the police officer said we have more evidence to support that what you are taught in elementary school is absolutely false"
Vore said some advice is outdated.
"The whole hide under your desks is not going to save any lives," Vore said. "So it was nice to get some options on what to do in those situations on what to do to increase your odds of staying alive and reducing casualties.”
ALICE, which stands for Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, Evacuate, is a flexible set of principles that help you prepare and act accordingly to a situation that may arise.
“If you believe you are in close proximity to where you think the shooter is, you’re probably going to want to lock down and barricade yourself in. Otherwise if it [the incident] was in Beardshear Hall, and I am over here in BWR you're going to want to, what the officer told us, get in a car and drive to the Mall of America,” Vore said.
Community advisers learn many skills and procedures that can easily be taught or applied to violent situations that may arise.
“I’ve been trying to tell [residents] them what I’ve learned. I’ve been telling them that [what] I learned at VIRT is if an active shooter walks into your classroom, that everyone should throw their books, your pencils, anything to distract them,” Vore said.
Vore was one of the volunteers to disarm an officer in practice.
“I was the one who volunteered to disarm the officer with her fake gun, and she explained mostly shooting are handguns," Vore said. "Firstly, grab the top of the gun, it will be able to fire once, but then I am holding the slide mechanism from ejecting the bullet out of the chamber and it is going to jam up the gun right there. Now they have a gun that is not working on them.”
Hochstein wants students to consider taking the VIRT training.
“I think that students should be going through it, certainly staff should be, but I think that CAs should go through it, I think that staff should go through it, I think students should go through it," Hochstein said. "Anyone will benefit from going through a program like VIRT.”