Colleges have unique needs for mass notification
College campuses carry a singular burden of responsibility in protecting the lives of students and staff. Since students and teachers are on the move most of the day, effective communication must take place through every possible means, including phone, text, email or others. To be truly effective, there also must be a mechanism for those affected to respond in a meaningful way.
The Problem: How to communicate with thousands when seconds count
After witnessing several tragic school events like the Columbine High School massacre and the shootings at Virginia Tech, the leaders at New Jersey’s Kean University realized the importance of implementing an emergency notification system for their campus. Although hopeful that a disaster of such proportions would never take place at Kean, officials wanted to be able to quickly alert students, faculty and staff to guide them to safety if the unthinkable were to happen. They chose MIR3 from OnSolve as their notification solution, and when faced with a serious threat shortly thereafter, were glad they did.
On March 11, 2008, Kean University received a bomb threat and through MIR3, the staff was able to immediately lock down the campus. A second threat was phoned in just 20 minutes later. Typically, about 4,000 students are on campus on any given evening, and when the threats occurred, contacting all those students, as well as staff, became an immediate priority. Without an emergency notification system in place, the process of notifying all students of a threat would have been inefficient and daunting.
The Solution: MIR3
Using MIR3 from OnSolve, University administrators are able to deliver a message to thousands of students and staff simultaneously. Audrey Kelly, a spokeswoman for the university states, “Students were notified via text message, email and voice mail to evacuate all campus buildings. Those students who live on campus were told to return to their dorms. Commuting students were told to leave campus.
How Kean University benefits from MIR3:
- Thousands of students and staff can be reached at once no matter where they are on a wide variety of communication devices
- Time is saved by quickly launching mass notifications to all students and staff, or just to one group, by simply logging into the Web interface, sending an email or making a phone call
- Overall communication is enhanced in order to provide key details and information in all types of scenarios ranging from weather threats to power outages
The bottom line
Although the bomb scare was a false alarm, university officials learned that they can reach the people who most need to know when threats occur. They continue to leverage the system today for this and other purposes and are always exploring new ways to use the tool to notify students, parents and staff.