Safety isn’t simply a state of being. Safety is a way of life and a goal that each of us strives to reach - for ourselves, our families, and our employees or staff. All organizations have a responsibility to be prepared for any emergency scenarios that could impact their people or property.
As we discussed last month, the goal of any critical communication plan is to reach as many members of your community as possible with most organizations still emphasizing communication methods like text messaging or email. Reaching your audience directly is usually perceived as the most effective form of communication. The biggest barrier to effective direct communication is the collection and maintenance of personal contact information.
Since March, the United States has seen quite a lot of tornadoes and severe spring weather. In fact, from May 13 through May 20 there were 483 tornadoes according to the National Weather Service’s Storm Prediction Center. We are accustomed to hearing about tornadic activity throughout Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, North Dakota, South Dakota, Illinois, Iowa, Missouri, Colorado, and Minnesota - appropriately given the nickname of Tornado Alley. However, many of the tornadoes which occurred in May were accounted for in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Maryland. In these Northeastern areas, tornadoes have been more prevalent in the past couple of years and are only continuing to increase.
Traditionally a place of sanctuary, reflection, peace, and safety, houses of worship have seen an increase in threats and violence in recent years. High-profile attacks at churches, synagogues, and mosques show that these places of worship are not immune from violence and religious leaders and congregants are concerned. Most are increasing security and rethinking entry to ensure their religious communities feel safe and secure.
Recent reports about mold in residence halls and the spread of viruses among students are an important reminder that threats to campus safety can be biological and may trigger the Jeanne Clery Act’s emergency notification requirement just like a criminal or environmental threat would. Effective compliance with Clery in these situations requires open communication among various departments on campus – including residence life, the health center, and campus public safety – to identify potential threats and then issue notifications. This should be bolstered with both policies and good relationships.
Hospitals and healthcare facilities are anchor institutions in our communities when it comes to safety and well-being during a time of crisis. They play a major role in most emergencies that happen — environmental incidents, vehicular accidents, infrastructure disasters, and active intruder or shooter tragedies. Because of the role they play in emergencies, they themselves must be even more prepared for emergencies that might happen at their facilities. Not only must they inform and guide the patients who visit these type of facilities, but the doctors and nurses, workers, and visitors inside must also be made aware and prepared for what to do next. No one day is the same and no one individual is the same who enters, so these centers must be ready for anything that comes their way. Ensuring they keep everyone safe means informing their constituents of an emergency and what guidance to follow if there is one.