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Surviving An Active Shooter Now A Course In College

STONY BROOK, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) - Keeping Americans safe may be a top priority for the new congress as experts say mass shootings are now so frequent, everyone should be prepared.

CBS2's Jennifer McLogan visited Stony Brook University where they're holding active shooter training for all.

College campuses in our area want to be safe havens, but as mass shootings across the country in schools, synagogues, churches and dancehalls fill headlines, many students feel suspicious about those around them.

Reactions range from "unsettling, very scary," to "the other person has weapons on them" or "when I overthink it I get kind of scared."

While the odds are low that you personally will be a victim of a mass shooting, it can be chilling to consider. Experts say the more prepared you are, the better chances of survival.

READ: Tips & Tactics

Stony Brook's students and faculty are taking part in simulated shooting classes, role playing in active shooter scenarios in dorm hallways and off campus housing.

"There are no exact answers, but we give them tips and advice that could help them save their lives by buying them extra seconds," said Assistant Chief Eric Olsen of the Stony Brook police.

The classes and demos are held once a week through the fall semester.

"If you don't know what you are doing that would put you at a severe disadvantage," said freshman Lawrence Gaines.

LOOKING BACK: Ohio State Attack Prompts New York Area Colleges To Reinforce Active Shooter Training

With helmets, bullet-proof vests, assault shields, and fake weapons, volunteer students are taken through the steps: run, hide, fight, find the exit and help others.

If escape is not an option, hide, lock doors or put up a barricade and stay quiet.

As a last resort, fight using whatever improvised weapons are available: scissors, bookends, chairs.

When police arrive, keep your hands up to instantly prove you are unarmed and not one of the bad guys

"It definitely prepared me to handle the situation if would arise, but I also think that like it put me in a mindset where I'm always waiting for something to happen," said senior Bethany Smith.

Myphuong Nguyen's sister survived a hospital active shooting.

"It happened to my siblings, could happen to me," she said. "It's happening to everyone else in the country."

Active shooting scenes are chaotic but the more protocols in place, the more likely to minimize the damage.

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