Las Vegas – The students of the University of Nevada went through a lived a two minute nightmare on Wednesday due to a gun man fake alarm. At 2:50 P.M, the alumni and staff of the UNLV got a message on their phones which said there was an armed person on the campus. For a couple of minutes, everyone was confused and scared because, even though they could not hear or see anything, the message read “THIS IS NOT A TEST”. However, they all got a second message saying it was a false alarm along with an apology.
The students were not the only ones to receive the message. Police officers also got the distress call, and in about one and a half minutes, 20 patrols were surrounding the campus and an elementary school nearby. Before the system was implemented, the police department carried out a lot of simulations.
The University of Nevada, Las Vegas Chief of Police, Jose Elique, explained that a police employee was showing a colleague hot the system worked, and he accidentally activated it.
“A police employee was actually showing another staff member how it worked, and then inadvertently — when he closed his iPad, as it turned out — it activated,” Elique said.
The alarm was false, but the scare was pretty real
Everybody is relieved that it was a false alarm and not an actual incident, but a lot of people are also very angry with the university’s staff. The shooting at Pulse in Orlando is still very recent, and that attack brought a lot of media attention to gun control issues and the amount of shootings that occur in the country. That is why the University of Nevada’s Twitter got flooded with posts and memes.
According to the witnesses, some of the students panicked and quickly looked for cover. They hid in the bathrooms, offices and classrooms. Also, the news went viral, and even though the institution sent the second message a few minutes later, a lot of people outside the university knew about the situation. Relatives and friends were anxious, and some people even dropped whatever they were doing to go to the location.
An active shooter alert sent earlier by UNLV was a false alarm https://t.co/nZS76W8nB6
— Las Vegas RJ (@reviewjournal) July 7, 2016
The system and the response team performed as expected
It was indeed a sour moment for the people that got the message. The mistake also proved that not only the distress alarm works, but also that the police officers are very alert about this kind of situation. In fact, many of the people in the building felt much safer after seeing the patrols swarming around the facilities.
“This afternoon UNLV was testing its emergency notification system when it inadvertently triggered a campus-wide message referencing an active shooter on campus,” read a second message sent by the university staff “There was no campus emergency and UNLV apologizes for any inconvenience”
This kind of security protocols could save a lot of lives in the United States where gun control is a constant problem that apparently is only getting worse. BBC news reported in January 2016 there had been 372 mass shootings in the US in 2015, killing 475 people and wounding almost 1900. The news media got the information from Mass Shooting Tracker.
— Gina Lazara (@GinaLazara) July 6, 2016
Even after the events in Orlando where 49 people were killed by a single man, the leading party in the Congress does not want to listen to anything about gun control, so these kind of notification systems and the quick response by the local authorities are more necessary than ever.