GNTC’s Whitfield Murray Campus conducts active shooter drill

December 4, 2019
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At 10 a.m. Georgia Northwestern Technical College’s (GNTC) Police Chief Chad Cardin sent out an alert that the Whitfield Murray Campus (WMC) was under an active shooter lock down drill through the GNTC Alert system.

“We are always looking for ways to make the campus safer,” Cardin said.

The Tuesday morning drill was a coordinated by GNTC Training Coordinator Lt. Gary McConathy, who said this type of drill will be held at each GNTC campus every other month moving forward. Faculty, staff and students were ushered into the nearest classroom or office while GNTC police checked for any campus weak points.

“I’d say it was a success,” McConathy said. “We were not surprised by anything we found during the drill and that is mainly what this was about.”

The training coordinator sent out a pre-drill packet with information to all faculty, staff and instructors containing safety information as well as a survey to fill out after the drill was complete. McConathy said GNTC personnel were encouraged to share their insights on the drill and share feedback on anything they feel should be addressed.

“We have already received some preliminary feedback and are working on solutions, however the suggestions made by staff members so far are things we noticed during the drill,” he said. “The situational awareness of faculty and staff goes a long way.”

Three GNTC police officers went to every door in the building to verify that it was secure and made sure in session classes had their lights off and students were hidden. Both Cardin and McConathy emphasized that locked doors deter active shooters and it is the best way to keep students safe during an emergency.

“About 80% of incidents start outside and work their way indoors,” said McConathy. “The first step is to lock everything down.

Once the drill was over, McConathy congratulated Adrienne McCurdy, GNTC director of student success and WMC campus manager, as well as Alyssa McCollum, student affairs assistant, on their successful participation of the active shooter drill.

“We could see you, we definitely thought you could see us,” McCurdy said.

“Not with the lights off,” replied McConathy. “Even with my eyes shielded I couldn’t tell anyone was in the room.

According to McConathy, GNTC police are working on a mass casualty drill which will involve several outside agencies and usually takes quite a while to get organized. These types of drills are beneficial to the training of external emergency responders, he said, but Tuesday’s drill was for the advantage of GNTC faculty, staff and students.

About five minutes after the lock down began, students engaged in an open discussion with instructors on emergency preparedness and safety. Once the “All Clear” was given the campus returned to its normal operations. 

Georgia Northwestern Technical College (GNTC) provides quality workforce education to the citizens of Northwest Georgia. Students have the opportunity to earn an associate degree, diploma, or a certificate in business, health, industrial, or public service career paths. This past year, 12,785 people benefited from GNTC’s credit and noncredit programs. With an annual credit enrollment of 7,499 students, GNTC is the largest college in Northwest Georgia. GNTC has an additional enrollment of 5,286 people through adult education, continuing education, business and industry training, and Georgia Quick Start. GNTC is a unit of the Technical College System of Georgia and an Equal Opportunity Institution.

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