Emergency Notification Systems and Crisis Communication – Blog

Emergency Notifications for Graduation and Campus Events

Becky Goudy By Becky Goudy

Within the next few weeks, universities and colleges will be busy preparing for large numbers of visitors to their campuses for graduation ceremonies. From younger siblings to grandparents, these visitors will be happily awaiting to celebrate their graduate walking across the stage and receive their hard-earned diplomas and start the next chapter of their lives.

Beyond graduation, many colleges have other types of large events on campus throughout the summer, such as concerts, camps and summer clubs, and college visits. Many attendees of these events may not be included in your traditional list of students and employees who receive emergency notifications.

The safety and security of your constituents and your visitors on campus is a top priority during these largely attended events. Alerting them of an emergency could be more of a challenge. Because of this, you must take extra precautions to ensure the safety and security of these large scale, highly populated campus events.

It’s unrealistic to manually enter each new guest and visitor into your recipients list within your emergency notification system. As a result, Omnilert provides additional methods to handle this challenge.

Creating Special Groups for Special Events

Contractors, special event attendees, fans, campus visitors, and guests can all opt-in via their mobile device to a specific Group for a specific special event. As a result, they can receive event information and emergency notifications directly to their device. At the conclusion of the event, the specific Group can be terminated, deactivated, or continued. Of course, recipients will also have the ability to opt-out of the specific Group.

No matter the circumstance; whether it is graduation, homecoming, a concert, or a weekend festival, recipients can receive the same emergency notifications that your traditional constituents are accustomed to receiving. You control the message and now have the power to communicate with the visitors that are on your property.

For instance, you can create a Group and then a corresponding Group keyword for that specific Group. As an example, think something unique like ABCUGRAD19 or ABCUHOME19. In your announcement communications (newsletters, flyers, emails, social media, etc...) about these special events, you publish this keyword along with the shortcode - and the instructions, the benefits, and the goals. Those that are interested, can text the specific Group keyword to a specific shortcode - and voila - they have opted-in to that specific Group.

It really is that easy to engage your community of visitors, guests, contractors, fans - and provide them with the opportunity to receive campus event updates and emergency notifications during the time they are on campus.

Redundancy of Alerts

Sending alerts through email, text, or voice call is not enough during a loud boisterous event. Way before the event actually happens, you should prepare your emergency notification system to utilize every possible form of communication within your organization:

  1. -Digital Signage
  2. -Large Stadium Screens
  3. -Social Media
  4. -Blue Lights
  5. -Fire Alarms

By using multimodal communication when sending an alert, you’re adding another way for your large - and possibly unregistered - population to see an alert. The more chances you give your constituents to receive an alert, the more chances they are to see it in a timely manner. Thus, keeping them out of harm’s way. Publishing safety alerts immediately and seamlessly to Social Media accounts is an effective way to broaden the reach of your notifications for large special events.

It is also a good idea to include specific guidance in your initial alerts. Guests and visitors from out of town don’t know your campus or your safety and security plans. Including guidance allows you to take better control of the situation and better ensure success.

Run Drills and Exercises

Large event and graduation security, as well as overall campus security, must be planned well in advance of the actual event occurring. This goes beyond your normal everyday campus security. When it comes to a large event, such as graduation or a concert, it’s a good idea to run through a safety exercise with everyone involved in emergency notification, response, and recovery. You might also want to include your local police in your exercises to ensure they’re familiar and have the opportunity to contribute.

Safety and security must be top of mind when so many visitors are on campus for graduation ceremonies and other large campus events. Extra precautions and preparation need to be made in order to keep everyone on campus — graduates, staff, and visitors — safe and informed of anything that might happen.

Learn more about how public and private venues such as colleges and universities embrace emergency notifications to a population of visitors to improve their critical communications, operations, and overall event safety.


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