While mass shootings and other violence on university and college campuses throughout North America have increased our sense of vulnerability, Red River College has implemented a comprehensive plan to communicate threats and enhance the safety of students, staff and visitors. The quality of its Integrated Campus Emergency Alerting System has led to a leadership recognition award from the Human Resource Management Association of Manitoba (HRMAM).
This Emergency Alerting System provides timely and effective warnings to allow people to take appropriate actions that save lives in the event of an imminent safety threat. It includes the following features:
- Emergency announcements through several public address speakers;
- Desktop alerts to computers and text alerts to cellphones for all staff and students;
- A comprehensive education campaign, including orientation for students and new employees;
- Weekly testing of the system, including annual campus-wide lockdown drills to ensure students and staff know what to do in the event of an imminent threat.
“As a result of the Alerting System, the entire College community has become more engaged and aware of their responsibilities in the event of an unforeseen emergency affecting one or more of our campuses,” said Dave Clarke, Emergency Preparedness Coordinator. “It has helped make Red River College a safer environment in which to work and learn.”
The system includes pre-scripted messages to initiate a lockdown at any campus, as well as the ability to issue live or updated messaging as a situation evolves. Participants can also specify which campus they attend to receive alerts for only that campus.
The Alerting system also includes protocols and procedures for immediate notification of managers and senior staff in the event of a serious incident, as well as departmental call-trees to disseminate information to and from staff who may be off campus.