Security experts from Alertus Technologies reveal 3 things colleges drop the ball on regarding campus security, and how to fix them.
Before students make a decision on which college will be their home for the next four years, they – and their parents – want to know how safe it is.
Erik Stafford, Director of Higher Education Sales for Alertus Technologies, says students and parents often ask schools about campus threats, how security officials handle those threats, and how the college informs attendees about them.
“That’s the first thing they ask on a tour,” says Stafford. “What do you do to notify my student and me about what’s happening on campus, and what are you doing to protect students? If an incident occurs and somebody is completely in the dark, they’re going to say hey, I didn’t hear about this, this is a problem…we need to be able to know about these notifications and if your methods weren’t sufficient.”
While colleges are generally on top of their security strategies, there are still instances where a technology or procedure is overlooked, and threats get through.
For example, Jamie Underwood, Director of Marketing Communications for Alertus Technologies, says colleges can mis-think their mass notification strategies.
Some schools, she says, think they will get their emergency messages out to everyone by sending it through only one or two main media, such as email or texts.
“They don’t think about mass notification reaching people who maybe don’t have a cell phone on them,” Underwood says. “They don’t necessarily think about all the different components for outreach, so they may have many gaps for missing groups of people in certain buildings, and certain individuals.”
In addition to forgetting about certain people during an emergency, colleges can also overlook testing their security technologies and strategies on a regular basis.
By failing to test security technologies and strategies, colleges will miss out on the opportunity to evaluate them to see if they still work, or if they need to be updated.
Ryan Ockuly, National Sales Director for Alertus Technologies, says when security technologies don’t work, they won’t provide maximum coverage during an actual emergency.
“So many times we’ve heard of customers that have implemented technologies…but they haven’t tested them in six or eight months, or a year,” he says. “Test maybe at a minimum, quarterly, maybe monthly. [If] they find any holes in their notification strategies, they can either add technology or notification modes so that they have full coverage.”
Aside from testing, Underwood says colleges can sometimes make big mistakes with their security planning.
While most colleges typically have a security plan ready in the event on an emergency, Underwood says they can fumble with the small details.
Broad plans will certainly help colleges prepare for a dangerous situation; however, the small details will change alongside the uniqueness of each emergency.