Arming campus with knowledge: Public Safety teaches survival skills
Police officers are constantly training on reacting to violent situations. Civilians, however, do not regularly receive such instruction. That is starting to change in schools and workplaces across the country, and The University of Iowa is no exception. The UI Department of Public Safety began offering in February a free, two-hour class called Violent Incident Survival Training.
Through videos, lecture, demonstration, and discussion, the course presents a set of principles called ALICE—Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, Evacuate—to help participants to recognize, assess, and respond to threats around them. The course is open to all faculty, staff, students, and community members, and more than 350 have participated.
Joe Lang, a lieutenant and instructor in the department, says the course is not meant to frighten anyone: “We’re trying to prepare our people to protect themselves by empowering them with options. The threat doesn’t have to be someone with a gun—it could be a bat or a knife—and it might not happen on campus. Violent incidents can happen anywhere.”
“The program is informative, interactive, and fun but serious,” Lang says. “We are teaching life-lesson skills that can be used anywhere—and it’s free.”