1/16/2019

Raising awareness of a campus safety event is not a trivial task given the disparate sensors & alarms that may be involved. It requires an integrated approach.

Have you ever said “If I knew then what I know now?”

Of course you have! – probably dozens of times, and of course that desire is strongest in times of crisis.

Let’s look at our experience with weather radar. Before doppler radar (NEXRAD) was introduced in the United States, the time between tornado prediction and land touchdown was 6 minutes. Doppler radar has not only increased that awareness warning to an average of 19 minutes, but included in those extra 13 minutes is much greater accuracy on the path of the storm. Doppler technology has proved invaluable in protecting life and property. 

We can take that lesson and apply it to campus safety and crisis management.

Traditional campus safety solutions have focused on mass notification. This is a critical component in any crisis, but incorporating event awareness takes safety to the next level. After all, the more forewarning you and your team have, the more time you have to prepare and communicate safety instructions.

Campus safety email banner 15e resized for blog body

Raising awareness of a campus safety event is not a trivial task given the disparate sensors and alarms that may be involved. But, similar to cybersecurity risk assessment, your institution can identify the biggest risk and integrate those devices/sensors/events into a system that alerts key personnel.

For example, some devices/sensors are foundational to any campus safety solution, including fire alarms, smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors, natural gas detection, video surveillance cameras, emergency calls (911 or 112), and building door locks.

Integrating those sensors/alarms into a central platform that alerts maintenance, security, administration, and other key personnel with specific location and context information is critical to swiftly resolving the event. Property damage and impact to teaching and learning is minimized. Even more, on-site personnel can meet with arriving first responders and coordinate and collaborate on how best to handle the situation.

Imagine the following scenario – a CO monitor alarms (boiler for athletic center’s hot water has malfunctioned). With an integrated awareness solution, maintenance, security, and building management are instantly alerted about the high levels of carbon monoxide. Maintenance and security team members are mobilized. They rapidly gain an understanding of the problem, collaborate on the steps need to be taken, coordinate with administration, and craft and disseminate the appropriate campus mass notification message.

Some institutions require more sophisticated device monitoring interfaces, such as refrigerator/freezer thermometers or even stadium metal detectors. Some may even want to expand awareness to the HVAC system or electricity supply from the utility company.

The good news is that Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise can help integrate all of these sensors/devices.

We view crisis management as three intertwined stages:  

1. Awareness

2. Coordination and collaboration with professionals

3. Mass notification

We deliver solutions that support all three stages. They are fully integrated into a central control panel that also provides log files and an audit trail for post-event analysis and training.

Awareness of an event is the first step in providing a safe learning environment.

In subsequent blogs, I’ll write about the two remaining stages – coordination and collaboration and mass notification.

If you’d like to learn more about our campus safety and crisis management solutions, please visit the links for podcasts, brochures, white papers, customer references, and thought leadership videos.

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About the author
Greg Kovich photo for blog author page

Greg Kovich

Global Sales Lead, Education Vertical

Greg Kovich leads global sales for ALE’s Education vertical.  Greg has overseen or created several Education solutions including “The Fundamentals of Communications” – a vendor neutral course on digital network communications; “Safe Campus” – a solution uniting emergency alerts with first responder collaboration and mass notification; “Secure Campus” – a solution that allows instructors to limit student network access to determined sites; and “Pandemic Education Continuity” – a solution that enables classroom instruction in the event the institution is closed due to health or environmental crisis. 

He is a 1992 graduate of Indiana University with over 20 yrs experience in Information Technology.

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