- QNetNews.ca - http://www.qnetnews.ca -

Loyalist students say they don’t know residence lockdown rules

The Residence Commons student centre at Loyalist College. Some students in residence say they don’t know what the procedures are if there is a lockdown. Photo by Rachel Bell, QNet News

By Julia Lennips [1]

BELLEVILLE – Some students living in Loyalist College residence say they are not sure what they should do if a lockdown occurs.

Paramedic student Payge-Marie Hough was in her room last week when a lockdown drill happened. She didn’t at first know what it was, she said.

“It took about three minutes for me to realize what the sound I was hearing was,” Hough said. The alarms “need to be louder and placed inside each apartment.”

She wasn’t sure what to do once she heard the alarm, she said – and she’s still not sure.

“I have looked up what to do on the Loyalist College main website and still have not found a concrete answer.”

But she made her own plan. “I turned off my lights, locked my door, put a dark blanket over my window and placed myself in the corner of my room, where I would not be visible from the window or be in immediate sight if the door was opened,” Hough said.

Lockdown drills in residence should happen more often, she said.

Like Hough, Matthew Murray, a public-relations student who also lives in residence, said he hasn’t seen anything that explains what you should do in a lockdown.

Asked if students are well-informed on lockdown procedures in residence, Murray said, “Clearly not, because I don’t know what they are. I mean, I know enough from what I remember from grade school, like stay away from windows and turn the lights off. (But) in terms of residence I have no clue.”

The lockdown procedure for Loyalist College Residence. Photo by Julia Lennips

Chris Carson, the residence manager at Loyalist, says there are procedures for students to follow.

“Students should find a safe place and lock themselves into their apartments (and) make sure that their curtains are closed,” Carson said. “Cellphones should be turned off. Create a barrier in the apartment so that nobody else can access the residences themselves or any secure area and anyone without a key card shouldn’t be able to enter certain spaces.”

There’s a poster indicating the lockdown procedure as well as the fire-alarm procedure in each apartment, located on the back of the main door, he said.

“At the start of the school year we have our mandatory meeting and there’s some discussion in regards to the emergency processes and where to find information,” Carson said.

The lockdown procedure can also be found at myloyalist [2] under the emergency response plan.

Mark Kirkpatrick, the director of facilities and information technology at Loyalist, says the college is always taking lockdown drill results and improving on procedure and security. One of the more recent changes made is putting up blinds in classroom spaces.

“There was concern that was voiced about interactive learning spaces where you can see people actively learning, but in a lockdown you can see through the window. So we put a mechanism in to cover the window … we recently put in blinds in all the classrooms and labs as an example,” Kirkpatrick said.