CWU says if you don’t see it, don’t post it in new active shooter training video



Mariah Valles, Online Editor

In the event of an active shooter, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) says you have three options: run, hide or fight. CWU’s new active shooter training video, which aligns with the “Run. Hide. Fight.” protocol, was shown for the first time during Wildcat Welcome Weekend. The video was created in response to students who asked for more training following CWU’s active shooter false alarm on Feb. 6. 

On Sept. 24 President James L. Gaudino sent an email to  students and employees. In the email, he presented information on official emergency information services such as the “Run. Hide. Fight.” video, the Rave Alert Guardian App and the CWU emergency website. 

The new Guardian App allows people to receive alerts through wifi, something the university received feedback on following the Feb. 6 active shooter false alarm.

There’s also a content directory on the app that CWU Police Chief Jason Berthon-Koch says allows for safety tips to be in the palm of people’s hands. 

Berthon-Koch said another capability of the Guardian App is the “Social Angel.” After activation, users are able to share their location with another person, which enables them to walk safely without having somebody next to them physically. At any moment, either person end can contact 911 directly from the app.



On Feb. 14, one week after the active shooter false alarm, student government in collaboration with the president’s office held an open forum during which students could ask questions about the incident. 

As reported in the Feb. 21 issue of The Observer, during this forum Berthon-Koch responded to students’ concerns about lack of training. While all traditional first-year students are required to attend a session that details what to do in the event of an active shooter on campus, some students said a single session was not enough. Berthon-Koch answered that a new video would include information about what to do in the event of an emergency, how to communicate with others and where to get reliable information. 



On Sept. 23 the promised video was published on the university’s official YouTube channel. It’s titled, “CWU Run. Hide. Fight.” The video runs seven minutes and seven seconds long. Early on, it’s stated that since 2001, 15 active shooter scenarios have been reported on college campuses. 

Definitions of an active shooter incident vary by source, but the FBI defines it as, “individuals actively engaged in attempting to kill people in populated areas (excluding shootings related to gang or drug violence).”

According to the FBI, 15 active shooter incidents in the United States have happened on college campuses from 2000 to 2018. The report is available on the FBI’s website and does not include data from 2019. CWU used this data in the statistic shown early on in the video.

“It’s important to include that information to show that active shooter incidents do happen but they’re not as frequent on college campus as what the perception is,” Berthon-Koch said.

From 2000 to 2018, there have been 23 high school active shooter incidents according to the FBI report. 



Following the DHS’ “Run. Hide. Fight.” protocol, the first option in the event of an active shooter is to run away from the area. 

“Be aware of your surroundings, be proactive in your own safety,” Twaites said. “If you can run and if you can get out of the area of an active shooter, then absolutely get out of there.”

If escape is impossible, the next-best option is to hide from the threat. 

“If you can’t run, then obviously hide, barricade yourself,” Twaites said. “Use whatever resources are available around you to make yourself invisible from whatever the threat may be.”

According to both Twaites and the video, fighting back should be your last option in the event of an active shooter. The video suggests distracting the shooter and using anything as a weapon.

“You have to be committed and unfortunately some bad things may happen,” Twaites said. “Fighting is something that takes a lot of commitment and you want to fight with everything you have.”




The CWU Police Department hopes everybody on campus will watch the video at least once a quarter. Twaites said the department wants the campus community to be informed about what to do in an active shooter situation. He also said the police department is available to come to offices, residence halls and other places on campus to help educate.

“If we can get [the video] into classrooms, it would be phenomenal,” Twaites said.

Twaites said by watching the video at least once a quarter, minds will be refreshed and people will know what to do in the event of an active shooter situation. 



The actor who portrayed the active shooter in CWU’s “Run. Hide. Fight.” video wore jeans, a sweatshirt, hat and watch, and carried a black duffel bag. 

“People’s behavior can help indicate whether or not they’re suspicious or not, but you’re not going to be able to generalize every person with a duffel bag,” Twaites said. “It’s problematic when you want to say everybody with a duffel bag has a gun because we know that’s not realistic.”

Twaites said to call 911 or the non-emergency number if you believe another person is acting suspiciously. 

“The police will respond and investigate and talk to whoever that may be at any time of the day or any situation that may occur,” Twaites said. 

The blue-lit phone towers are another safety precaution. According to Twaites, there are about 30 placed strategically throughout campus. If you press the button on the tower, 911 is immediately contacted. 



At 2:55 in the video, the “active shooter” pulls the fire alarm in an attempt to bring people out of the rooms they are in. A few seconds later, an actor looks quickly out the door, realizes there isn’t a fire and begins to hide. 

Berthon-Koch said the students did the right thing by hearing the fire alarm, going to evacuate, realizing there was not an actual fire and hiding in their room. He said this scene’s lesson was to be aware of your surroundings.

“Don’t have your face in your phone, don’t be reading text messages or tweeting or snapchatting or [on] Instagram or whatever it may be,” Berthon-Koch said. “Be aware and then make those right decisions.” 



“The video is important for students to be aware of what to do under [active shooter] circumstances,” ASCWU President Jasmin Washington said. 

Washington said the active shooter false alarm on Feb. 6 revealed the university was not as prepared as it thought it was for an active shooter situation. 

Now, Washington said, students can prepare and know exactly what to do if a similar situation happens again. 

Washington recalled her experience on Feb. 6, saying she was in the Wellness Center when she received a text message about a possible active shooter. She remembers yelling at students eating dinner in the SURC, telling them they needed to clear the area. 




During the Feb. 6 active shooter false alarm event, social media played a role in the event. Misinformation spread on Twitter and Facebook. CWU’s “Run. Hide. Fight.” video says to only post what you’re certain about.

“If you’re unsure about something that’s going on,” Washington said. “Don’t post it.”

CWU Police Chief Berthon-Koch said in the event of an emergency to turn to official sources only, such as the university’s official Facebook page and Twitter (@CentralWashU). 

“People believe what they see on social media without getting facts,” Berthon-Koch said. 

Berthon-Koch said people who post about emergency situations on social media without first-hand information cause problems for emergency first responders and put people’s lives in danger.