In 2018, we saw schools across the country suffer from violence, and together we had to accept that campuses are targets for what was once the unthinkable.
Then there are other risks such as severe weather conditions or even day-to-day communications that need to be addressed. The one thing that is clear is the importance of having effective communication strategies in place to ensure campus safety.
Don’t assume that your campus is immune to crisis. The number of shootings on or near college campuses increased by 153% between the 2001 and 2006 academic years.1 And shooting incidents are predicted to increase during the next decade Take action in 2019 to improve communication with your many stakeholders, including students, faculty and staff, families, community members, and others.
We have the tips you need to make better communication a reality for your campus in 2019.
Consistency is key to an effective communication strategy. Delivering a consistent message will help tamp down panic and impulsive reactions when a crisis occurs. You can steer your messaging by following these tips:
While you can’t predict every situation that might take place, you can prepare for a threat by knowing how to identify various issues. Equip your campus with knowledge and preparedness by thinking through different threats that could result in a larger crisis. Do you know how you’ll respond in the event of a shooter? A fire? A hurricane? By anticipating a crisis and including it in your crisis communications plan, you’ll be able to act quickly when an emergency occurs and reduce the impact that an incident has on your campus.
To be sure you and your campus community are fully prepared for a crisis, it is important to practice and regularly test your communications plan. Train every member of your campus community and run drills so that everyone is familiar and comfortable with the protocol. Don’t wait until a crisis hits to see how your campus responds; give your campus community the information and training they need to stay safe.
Prepare mass crisis notification templates to avoid having to craft messages when a crisis hits. When creating your templates, remember that unclear or lengthy notification messages will only fuel the confusion during a campus crisis. Ensure that your messages are as clear and concise as possible, generally not exceeding 918 characters. Create notification templates before a crisis to ensure that the right people receive the right information at the right time.
Establish an effective communication plan to steer your campus through a crisis and ensure the safety and security of your stakeholders.
Download this free report for sample crisis notification templates and to discover more ways to strengthen your campus communication plan.Download this Free Report