Forty-five seconds.

 

That’s the average reaction time when you find out there’s an active shooter near you.

 

“That’s 45 seconds you could have used to get out,” said UTRGV Police Chief Raul Munguia. “In 45 seconds, you can cover a pretty good distance on foot.”

 

Since 2015, the UTRGV Police Department has been offering Civilian Response to Active Shooter Event (CRASE) trainings to students, faculty and staff. The trainings are free and happen throughout the year on all UTRGV campuses and sites.

 

In light of recent active shooter events across the country, the training has gained popularity, Munguia said. Some people have even contacted UTRGV PD to ask why training like this is not available. In fact, UTRGV has had such training for three years already.

 

So, to rectify the lack of awareness, the university has expanded its efforts to ensure that the campus community knows about this potentially life-saving training.

 

“These are some skills that not only serve you here in the workplace, but you can take them anywhere,” Munguia said. “A lot of it doesn’t sink in until there’s an unfortunate instance.”

 

David Peña, a community engagement officer with UTRGV PD, is one of the instructors for CRASE trainings.

 

More than anything, Peña said, it’s important to go into crisis situations with “a winning mindset.” Be aware of your surroundings, he said.

 

In the case of an active shooter situation, the university police department urges students to practice caution, and keep the following recommendations in mind:

 

·         If you hear something you think might be gunshots, treat them as gunshots (no matter what the sound actually is) and act immediately.  

·         Know where the exits are in any building you’re in. Be mindful of the exits (including windows) and make sure they are a viable escape option.  

·         If you hear someone making suspicious comments or engaging in suspicious behavior, let the police department know immediately.  

Eric Ramirez, facilities coordinator at the UTRGV Student Union on the Edinburg Campus, who took part in the training, works in one of the busiest buildings on campus, which makes him and the students he supervises uniquely vulnerable to an active shooter event, he said.

 

 “I want to make sure our student employees are prepared,” Ramirez said. “I want to make sure our students feel safe and that we all feel safe.”

 

For more information on CRASE trainings or to register, visit: www.utrgv.edu/training.