Prepare, Respond, Recover

Walking around campus there are blue emergency stations everywhere you go. There are also countless different events and organizations, such as Take Back the Night, aimed at promoting safety, yet many students on campus worry about their safety.

Kathleen Kiernan, founder and CEO of the global consulting firm Kiernan Group Holdings and who is a 29-year veteran of federal law enforcement, explains how students can help ensure safety on campus. Kiernan Group Holdings is a global consulting firm that innovated Preparedness Without Paranoia — a concept that explains how the threat of the modern environment does not have to be intimidating or overwhelming.

“We have learned — and in some cases relearned — that preparation in advance is always key to response and recovery. A culture of awareness, preparedness and confidence provides an advantage, best realized when accepted as part of university culture,” Kiernan said. “Violence can occur where we live, where we work, where we learn, where we play and where we worship.”

Kiernan points out that in a culture where we are so distracted by social engagement via social media, individuals tend to be more trusting. It is this misguided trust that can often lead to negative circumstances.

Colleges and universities are always upgrading emergency programs and looking for ways to ensure preparedness. Many have also been implementing Treat Assessment Teams to report early signs of a threat. Kiernan says that a key part of the education process for threat prevention is reporting suspicious behavior.

“The reluctance to engage in dialogue or the idea that a major threat could not occur in an open-air, collaborative environment is no longer an acceptable option,” Kiernan said. Active threats can happen anywhere. Statistics show that 70 percent of all active shootings occur in public places such as businesses, academic institutions, and government buildings.

“Students should be prepared, confident and capable to respond to an active threat situation both on and off campus,” Kiernan said. “Campuses are also engaging with specialized experts, such as Kiernan Group Holdings, to design preparedness approaches and share those tactics with the community.”

These threats generally include street violence, protests that turn into violent situations, radicalization, drug and alcohol related problems, predatory sexual behavior, theft and fraud.

Further information about campus safety can be attained by meeting with the campus police from 12 to 1 p.m. or 10 to 11 p.m. Oct. 18 or 4 to 5 p.m. Oct. 19 in the Memorial Union’s Room of Nations, or by visiting the KGH website at

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