McNeese takes precautions to keep students, employees safe

McNeese takes precautions to keep students, employees safe

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - With Monday's deadly attack at Ohio State University, some could be wondering - could an attack happen at McNeese?

Campus officials hope not, but they prepare anyway.

Candace Townsend, McNeese's director of public relations and university events, said she's been through active shooter training and is part of a core group that meets weekly.

"In terms of being prepared, I think those of us involved in a situation like that are as prepared as we can possibly be, but you're never prepared for every aspect of a situation and an emergency, so I think our best philosophy is to expect the unexpected," she said.

Their system relies on police, who are trained to neutralize a threat - and redundant notification systems.

"At the beginning, get information out to tell you to take cover - to be safe. And then as information comes in, we're able to clarify - update," she said.

Townsend said they reach students via text, email, message board and on-campus sirens.

Like most people, student Nicholas Bedwell is horrified by the Ohio State attacks.

"I just think it's crazy that bad things like that can happen somewhere where we go to learn everyday - somewhere where we're not expecting that to happen," he said.

Yet he said he's not fearful.

"I always feel safe here. The campus police do a really good job at keeping us informed and telling us what to do when bad things happen. There are also emergency telephones in different places on campus that are accessible," said Bedwell.

Townsend said in order to avoid complacency, McNeese don't often test warning systems on students

"Our text messaging, emergency system is just that. It's for a true emergency, so students probably have never really gotten a message from us unless it was a test," said Townsend. "And we announce those tests in advance. We usually do those once a semester," she said.

Townsend urged students to pay attention to texts and emails from the university.

When it comes to emergency announcements, Townsend said students cannot opt out of the system. She said it is important for students to keep their information up-to-date.

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