– Incident Reporting and Safety at School, Colleges and Universities 7/11/15

Father hugging son safe from school

A school, college or university is a place of learning and relativity safety for most young people. Unfortunately all too often recent events have caused students, parents, and school officials cause to need a reliable system of communication during an emergency. During the first part of 2013 sudden and deadly violence on campus across the United States has mandated a need for response systems that address the unique requirements of schools, universities and colleges.

Communication is essential during a crisis on a campus. Families will naturally immediately attempt to contact each other which can distract from evacuations, interrupt cell phone communications, and even alert an attacker to the presence of a student or campus employee. Giving families information in real time, and giving them solutions to finding facts out quickly will forestall a number of issues a campus can face during an emergency.

At the same time those on campus such as teachers and faculty at Central Christian College in Kansas, also need real time information on what procedures to follow and how best to keep students under their direction safe. The SmartSource emergency response solution allows communication to flow to each of these groups either simultaneously or separately.

central christian college of kansas

The use of social media is a growing trend, and many educational institutions have found this is an effective means of communication to a point. In an emergency a mass broadcast of a message is possible, but it can backfire if some are not in a particular area or not part of a social media network, or if the message is not clear and understandable.

Other issues with social media include protecting a school from threats to it’s privacy, and misunderstanding or message’s content from affecting a school’s reputation. A single point of access to all official communications allows better control.

Amatra’s SmartSource emergency response system uses social media outlets including SMS message for better control of responsibility

in reaching out to communities and families, as well as communicating with students and facilities in an emergency.

AU logo“We have a range of prepackaged messages sitting in our portal, and a few groups created. That saves valuable time. After the event, we can evaluate the type of message we constructed, if it went out in a timely manner and how widely it was distributed.” 

- Chris Williams, Director of University Communications, Anderson University

This solution offers a better chance to plan ahead of emergencies and have message templates, and separate groups for messages already in a system in advance of needing them. Messages meant only for students or only for parents can be sent quickly and effectively.well as communicating with students and facilities in an emergency.

Schools can hope to never need to use emergency messaging, but having them at ready can prevent poor response to an unfortunate event.


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