For attendees looking for risk management seminars, EDUCAUSE is featuring a session called “Best Practices in Emergency Mass Notification.”
Aside from covering emergency notification strategies, this session will introduce best practices in campus emergency preparedness and mass notification. Security experts from well-known universities will discuss what protocols and emergency mass notification systems they have in place and why these components are essential to keeping faculty and staff safe in the event of an emergency.
One institution is already taking the lead on mass notification strategies – West Virginia University.
That’s because West Virginia University’s (WVU) campuses are equipped with over 120 T.V. monitors and digital signs that flash emergency messages when a threat strikes.
WVU is just one of the thousands of universities that use mass notification strategies to protect and warn its inhabitants against danger.
Aside from its digital signage strategies, WVU uses a threefold system to alert its campuses about an imminent threat:
1) In the event of an emergency the WVU police department launches a message, which is customized to that specific emergency (such as an active shooter, or inclement weather). That message then triggers the campuses’ digital signage.
2) Once the digital signage solutions receive the message, they turn red and convey the exact message reported by the police department. Police can also design the message to reveal action strategies, or for inhabitants to stay put.
3) As the emergency heightens or dwindles, police can update the message to tell inhabitants what to do next. Once the emergency is taken care of, police launch an all-clear message.
Spencer Graham, Manager of Operations for WVU Information Stations says the university uses commercial grade monitors for its mass notification strategies because they are high quality and will stay running 24/7.
“Ninety-nine point-nine percent of the time, these things are playing basic WVU internal marketing messages to our constituencies on the campus,” he says. “[But] when there’s an emergency, you’ve got a quick solution that notifies a whole bunch of people, hey, avoid this area we’ve got a problem, or stay where you’re at and lock your doors.”