(Orange, Texas)

Local News

October 6, 2013

Teachers of Tomorrow prepared for campus safety

ORANGE — Students of today are learning what it takes to be a better prepared teacher tomorrow, including information pertaining to less common but all too often heard dangerous situations.

Lamar State College-Orange held a special program on campus safety Thursday afternoon, sponsored by the Teachers of Tomorrow, on how future educators might be better prepared when encountering a dangerous situation on campus or in the classroom.

Students and faculty listened to a variety of information presented by local law enforcement, a fireman and a campus security officer.

Deputy John Badeaux of the Orange County Sheriff’s Office provided information and answered questions from the small group on what and what not to do when a hostile situation, such as a gunman being located in the building, occurs.

“You never know when something like that can happen, so the more you know on how to act in that situation, then the better off you will be,” Badeaux said to the group. “It’s a ‘what if’ situation. If you practice how to react and what to do when you ask yourself, ‘what if this happened,’ then you will be better prepared in case it does.”

Badeaux informed the students on several key measures to perform in the event of a hostile intruder. These measures included, calling 9-1-1, turning out the lights, locking the door, blocking the door and windows with furniture, turn off computers and cell phones, and, most importantly, stay calm.

“If you remain calm, then your students will be calm,” he added. “And it is important to be as quiet as possible and calm and not become a target. Stay out of the hallway.”

Badeaux explained to the aspiring educators and staff on what to do in the situation you are confronted face-to-face with a hostile intruder as well.

“Fighting back is a last resort,” he said. “If you are caught, follow their instructions and do not make eye contact. If you make eye contact with them, then they may feel you are going to identify them later. You have your students to consider and they are your priority.”

Jerry Ziller, assistant fire chief with the Orange Fire Department, also spoke to the students on other safety issues, including what to do in the event of a fire and how to handle a fire extinguisher.

“The buildings at Lamar State College-Orange are equipped with alarms and smoke detectors,” Ziller said pointing to the various pieces of equipment on the ceiling. “There are also pull-down alarms in the hallway and fire extinguishers at various points.

“It’s important for you to know about this if you are going to be a teacher,” he continued. “But most importantly is the need for accountability. Being a teacher means being accountable for your students. If there is a fire, then you need to get them out of the building calmly and safely. But we need to know if the building has been evacuated, and that is where you come in with the accountability of making sure all of your students are accounted for. It makes our job as firefighters much easier.”

Ziller also informed the audience on what to do when you encounter a natural disaster such as hurricane or tornado or a technological disaster such as a chemical spill or train derailment.

“Along with fire calls and medical calls, part of our job is emergency management,” he explained. “With a natural disaster like a hurricane, most of us know what to do. We pack up and leave when the order to evacuate is given. For a technological disaster, like a chemical spill or a train derailment where chemicals may be involved, that’s when you ‘shelter-in-place.

“If you are outside, and the order to ‘shelter-in-place’ is given, you go inside a building. If you are already inside, you stay inside. You shut the door and turn off the air-conditioning too,” Ziller said.

Tonie Miller, an 18-year-old education student from Vidor and a member of Teachers of Tomorrow, said the program was very beneficial.

“As a teacher, you are responsible for your students, even if something bad happens,” she said. “This program had a lot of useful information for us and it helped me to learn what to do depending on the situation. How to secure the room and keeping the students safe was the most informative part of the program for me. Hopefully, it is something we will never have to use but at least we have the information if we need it.”

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