Hallway speakers, internal digital screens, and text messaging are a few of the newer ways Red Deer College communicates with their students in the event of an emergency.

The college put those emergency response procedures to the test on Friday, as RDC's main campus and downtown campus were both put on lockdown, with everyone inside instructed to take shelter and stay where they are.

These type of drills are done a couple times a year to prepare for everything from a fire, to a gas leak, to an active shooter situation.

Manager of Security and Emergency Response for RDC Dan Sarrasin says thanks to modern technology, security can provide real-time updates on various situations.

“We currently have a text messaging system that actually goes out to subscribers, and we also have an emergency broadcast system. An announcement will come on letting everybody know to take shelter or to lock down. During that time and during those broadcasts, we’re actually providing tips on what people need to do during those types of emergencies.”

Sarrasin says emergency drills have evolved over the years.

“We followed the ‘Run, Get out, Hide, and Fight’ model. 25 years ago we weren’t using those principles. What we do now is that we actually provide the occupants with different options because there are some cases where as a last resort it might actually be safe to go outside during a lockdown or during an armed intruder situation. Again, every situation is different.”

The second yearly drill, normally held in the fall, is typically more of an evacuation to coincide with the warmer weather, but as Sarrasin says emergency situations can happen at any time, and it's his job to make sure they are always prepared.

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