University Hands Out Hockey Pucks as Part of Emergency Preparedness Plan

University Hands Out Hockey Pucks as Part of Emergency Preparedness Plan

"They have enough mass to cause injury, small enough to be thrown, (are) portable and they're not considered a weapon," Oakland University Police Chief Mark Gordon told CNN.

Oakland University in Detroit, Michigan, is arming students and professors with hockey pucks with which to defend themselves in case of an active shooter situation. Police and faculty members thought of the strategy after an emergency preparedness presentation.

The university teaches students the “run, hide, fight” strategy in case of an intruder, but Oakland University Police Chief Mark Gordon said someone raised the question of what students and professors should use when fighting back.

Having a method of defense in a shooter situation could “dramatically increase survival,” Gordon said, and a good improvised weapon would be “anything that has weight and would cause injury if you were to throw it.”

The answer? Hockey pucks.

"They have enough mass to cause injury, small enough to be thrown, (are) portable and they're not considered a weapon," Oakland University Police Chief Mark Gordon told CNN.

Oakland University’s chapter of the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) has purchased 2,500 hockey pucks, distributing 800 to faculty and the rest to students. A university spokesman said the pucks cost 94 cents apiece, and the student government has already ordered an additional 1,000 pucks.

"When Chief Gordon mentioned that a hockey puck was an appropriate tool to have at your disposal, we went back and saw how much they cost," said Thomas Discenna, president of Oakland University’s AAUP chapter. "These things are relatively cheap."

However, Discenna added that the pucks are an “absolutely last resort,” saying “We hope and pray it never gets used for the purposes we may use it for.”

The AAUP chapter also donated $5,000 in funds for installing inside locks on campus classroom buildings.

"We wanted to have a door lock that would be easily locked from the inside," Discenna said. "Most doors now can be locked externally using a key."

The hockey pucks and inside locks are part of the university’s efforts to increase preparedness in case of an emergency situation on campus.

"The bigger picture is preparing us in having a plan in a classroom," Gordon said. "The hockey puck is nothing more than an improvised weapon, so people know what to do. There's no time to talk about a plan when you find yourself in that situation."

About the Author

Jessica Davis is the Associate Content Editor for 1105 Media.

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