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Laredo College Exercises its Way to Stronger Emergency Response


Fires, floods, tornadoes, and active shooter situations are not the time to firm up your emergency response procedures. With an eye toward empowering staff to act quickly and confidently during emergencies, Laredo College reimagined traditional emergency response training—and earned a 2023 Fund Excellence award.

Laredo College employees with the school's Fund Excellence Award: Stephanie Moreno, environmental health and safety coordinator; Dr. David Arreazola, vice president of compliance and risk management; Casandra Salinas, safety and risk manager

Laredo College earned a 2023 Fund Excellence Award. Pictured are Stephanie Moreno, environmental health and safety coordinator; Dr. David Arreazola, vice president of compliance and risk management; and Casandra Salinas, safety and risk manager 

The college’s award-winning workshop featured fundamental topics that are typically tackled as stand-alone trainings: fire safety, first aid/automated external defibrillators, and active shooter response. Of course, employees might have to call on all three skillsets in a real emergency. 

So, Laredo College set its initiative apart by combining them into a single, hands-on, scenario-based workshop.

Inside a campus facility, employees rotated through stations where they practiced treating and safely relocating victims suffering from cardiac arrest, broken bones, and profuse bleeding in the arms and legs. They then followed the college’s evacuation procedures due to a hypothetical fire. 

The drill continued outside, where trainers started a fire in the safe confines of a fire pit. Attendees demonstrated that they could put the fire out using a common ABC extinguisher.

“Classroom instruction is of course important, but people sometimes panic during emergencies,” said Laredo College Safety and Risk Manager Casandra Salinas. “Hands-on experience improves employees’ ability to respond instinctively. Real-world situations that have many moving parts gave us the opportunity to apply everything we learned.”

Scenarios also help identify employees whose passion and aptitude might make them good candidates for emergency response focus groups or committees. “Participation fosters a sense of ownership in the emergency response program and promotes employee buy-in,” added Salinas.

Hands-on scenarios, especially around active shooter situations, can be emotionally difficult for some employees. Others might have medical conditions that prevent them from participating, so Laredo College leadership made it clear that employees should opt out of anything they weren’t comfortable doing.

Survey results suggest the workshop moved the needle. On a scale of one to five, employees reported their understanding of the concepts improved by an average of three points after the training.

The workshop also earned Laredo College one of just seven Excellence Awards issued by the Fund in 2023. Winning members received a plaque, a grant, and recognition in TASB and Fund publications. Salinas plans to invest the grant in additional emergency response training and equipment such as first aid and Stop the Bleed kits.

“Long-standing risks evolve, and new risks emerge,” said Salinas. “We constantly monitor the landscape and adapt to protect staff and students. The Excellence Award not only acknowledges our past efforts but also provides critical funds we need to continuously improve.”

Collaborate with Your Peers

The Fund’s strength is built on more than 1,000 members sharing risk and succeeding together. In the collaborative spirit of risk pooling, consider how you can apply your peers’ Excellence Award-winning initiatives to control losses in your schools.

David Wylie
David Wylie
Content Developer

David Wylie serves as content developer on the risk solutions team. He brings more than 20 years' experience writing educational content that helps employers protect against workplace accidents, property damage, cybercrime, and other losses.