The Fall Semester is underway and the buzz of back-to-school around campus has calmed down a little bit. Students and staff are more comfortable and familiar with their schedules and the campus layout. You and your Crisis Communications Team have reviewed your emergency communication plan - as well as held tests and exercises with the entire campus - and feel confident about your emergency plan. However, practicing and revisiting your emergency plan in alignment with your emergency notification system gives you the opportunity to see what tweaks or revisions you should make to your plans.
In a previous blog titled Back to School - Preparing Your Emergency Notifications, we spoke about ensuring your subscriber methods were active and up-to-date, preparing your emergency messages and Groups before an emergency happens, and using Omnimodal methods of communication.
With those best practices tackled, it is critical you move forward continuously. Now is the time to determine what items can be checked or enhanced. With that said, checks on your overall system should be done frequently throughout the year. We’re focusing on what ways you can send an emergency notification or a timely warning if you’re not at your desktop computer, what types of communication you might not have in place to send a notification to your people, and how you can prepare your system and your Crisis Communications Team for the upcoming holiday breaks.
Remote Initiation of Emergency Notifications
Campus sizes range from large to small - having as few as one building to taking over multiple streets of a city or town. Some safety and security teams are out patrolling campus and do not have a fully operational EOC or command center. It’s impossible to determine when an emergency will occur and because of this, you need to be able to launch an emergency alert from anywhere. Using an emergency notification system that allows you to send an alert to your people from an app on your phone is imperative. With Omnilert’s Scenarios® App, you’re able to send your preconfigured Scenarios in a matter of seconds after you’ve been made aware of the emergency. The app can be downloaded to your phone or Apple Watch.
Use Social Media as a Communication Tool
Social media is a great way to reach the masses. These days, many people head to social media to check for updates regarding any sort of situation - emergency or not. Social media - Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram - are trusted resources that many people use for their news and events. Setting up your social media accounts as a way of communication for emergency messages gives you one more way to reach your people. Not only is this helpful for your staff and students on campus, but it’s also a great way for parents and guardians to stay up to date on events, and emergency situations, going on around campus. This is a great alternative to thousands of parents asking to sign up for your emergency text alerts. Instead, have them follow your social media accounts and let them know they will receive the same alerts as their students.
Preparing for the Upcoming Holiday Breaks
After midterms, quite a few holiday breaks for students, staff, and faculty are observed. Most universities and schools will be closed for holiday breaks and many employees take off work for family time. University campuses - specifically dorms and classroom buildings - can be found near empty. However, this is no time to minimize your security and safety measures. In most cases, there will still be people on your educational or corporate campus. This is a topic that should be discussed before break happens - a plan must be instilled to ensure the safety and security of your people and organization.
The safety and security of your constituents must be top of mind when so many staff, students, and visitors are under your supervision. Extra precautions, tests, endpoints, and thought need to be made in order to keep everyone on campus safe and informed at any time of the year.
To take a deeper dive into more ideas that can help your organization download the Alerting is Not Enough white paper.