This morning I received an email from my supervisor informing us that all classes had been cancelled due to an emergency evacuation this morning and to inform our students about the cancellation. So I updated my class website and emailed all those that I could thinking nothing much of the evacuation. It was probably a broken water main or a gas leak or something of that sort. It wasn’t until I put a post up on Facebook that I learned the truth. Stephanie was the first to respond with:
It was a real Joe Dirt moment : Whaaaaaat?! I immediately scoured the news sites to find a story about it and eventually found it on Global News Calgary. I also sent it to my supervisor. I doubt there is/was a bomb, but this is as close as I’ve come to a situation like this. I’ll post updated news stories as they become available.
Part of me wishes I had been a fly on the wall when they were announcing/carrying out the evacuation. Columbia is in an industrial park, so there are many other businesses on site and no central communications system in place. It’s not like in high school where the principal can come over the PA system and direct everyone. It’s more a matter of phone calls, emails, and texts flying back and forth and people going from classroom to classroom informing teachers. There are only 2 exits from this site and I can only imagine it looked like a scene from a Hollywood disaster movie with cars everywhere, people running around willy-nilly (some with children) on icy surfaces, and traffic jams all topped off by the fire department, the police department, and the bomb squad showing up. Where’s John McClane when we need him?
Even if this was a hoax, I imagine security measures will be examined and/or beefed up. Maybe everyone will need a special pass to open building doors or every vehicle will need to have a parking pass and be registered or something. I’m guessing some training for doing evacuations will happen too. We have a procedure for lock downs, but that would’ve been useless today.
The president of the college sent around an email today with a bit more explanation:
“As you may be aware Columbia College received a bomb threat March 7 at approximately 10:45 am. We were informed that a bomb would go off in the next 30 minutes (11:15 am)”
As predicted the college will be reviewing and amending their emergency response procedures in light of this incident.