SHARE



ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Matt Brunk
Matt Brunk has worked in past roles as director of IT for a multisite health care firm; president of Telecomworx,...
Read Full Bio >>
SHARE



Matt Brunk | January 21, 2013 |

 
   

Emergency Communications On Campus

Emergency Communications On Campus Working to improve how administrators, staff and teachers can utilize communications tools.

Working to improve how administrators, staff and teachers can utilize communications tools.

As the nation wrestles with the painful tragedy in Connecticut, numerous inquiries into better or enhanced communications provide us the opportunity to improve how administrators, staff and teachers can utilize communications tools. The single tool that caught my attention in Newtown is described in a First Digital Media report:

"...And someone switched on the intercom, alerting people in the building to the attack--and perhaps saving many lives--by letting them hear the hysteria going on in the school office, a teacher said."

We agreed to meet with one of our K-8 campus customers to discuss emergency communications. Administrators, staff, the Access/Control security company and the IT Admin contributed. We were provided with a manual that administrators and teachers use and then examined the internal procedures during emergency or crisis conditions. The same manual is used in nearly 100 area schools.

Recently we met with a committee to discuss and outline how we could better utilize existing technologies in place and what to add or change to improve safety, increase responsiveness or reduce time in notifications and feedback.

The consensus of the group revealed that whatever solutions are utilized, they must be simple, easy to use, reliable and consistent. Then, teachers must maintain control of their classrooms and students be kept calm during any emergency or crisis situation.

When a school administrator initiates a "Code Red", one of two responses occurs: The school goes into complete lockdown, securing all exterior and interior doors; or everyone evacuates the building.

In either condition, human judgment comes into play and depending upon the situation, reactions and responses will vary. What we found to be a common expectation was feedback from each classroom (teacher) as to its classroom status during a lockdown. Is the classroom safe (GREEN); is a student missing (YELLOW) or is there immediate emergency need or danger (RED)? While I won't reveal the process, it is manual and time consuming.

We also discussed using audible and visual messages and alerts to ensure there is no doubt of the emergency condition because of: classroom noise; malfunctioning speakers, phones, computers or network; or proximity--meaning where students and staff are in the building or grounds.

The next thing we did was a campus walkthrough inside and outside. Akin to a site survey, we observed areas of any sound-dead zones that the paging system did not cover where students, teachers and staff may be during the school day. We noted any interior or exterior camera, WiFi or telephone coverage that was missing or potentially a blind spot or dead zone. Then we reviewed what doors would be used for entry/exit and whether or not a camera including an access control interface to the telephone system could be used to hasten entry back into the school if some students and/or staff are unable to get back in.

Keep in mind that what we are reviewing is specific to one school and doesn't necessarily apply universally to all schools or school systems. There are unique requirements and even different conditions in other schools. We aren't trying to fix something or someone but have been asked to review existing technologies in place along with what can be changed or used for improvement in emergency communications. What we also discovered and have heard before are the numerous decisions made by administrators, staff and teachers during an emergency or crisis.

So we have an initial review and at least a start to begin a new process for improving campus emergency communications. Anything that shaves response time or improves the communications process and contributes to safety or provides safer conditions, I think will be welcome and appreciated. Our industry can collectively provide improvements and the right mix of tools without breaking budgets. I'll let you know what we accomplish as this project continues.

Follow Matt Brunk on Twitter and Google+!
@telecomworx
Matt Brunk on Google+





COMMENTS



Enterprise Connect Orlando 2018
March 12-15 | Orlando, FL

Connect with the Entire Enterprise Communications & Collaboration Ecosystem


Stay Up-to-Date: Hear industry visionaries in Keynotes and General Sessions delivering the latest insight on UC, mobility, collaboration and cloud

Grow Your Network: Connect with the largest gathering of enterprise IT and business leaders and influencers

Learn From Industry Leaders: Attend a full range of Conference Sessions, Free Programs and Special Events

Evaluate All Your Options: Engage with 190+ of the leading equipment, software and service providers

Have Fun! Mingle with sponsors, exhibitors, attendees, guest speakers and industry players during evening receptions

Register now with code NOJITTEREB to save $200 Off Advance Rates or get a FREE Expo Pass!

November 1, 2017

Your customers (internal and external) demand that you offer them the ability to connect by any means. With the adoption of cloud communications tools you now have access to an expanded portfolio o

October 18, 2017

Microsofts recent Ignite event had some critically important announcements for enterprise communications. Namely, Microsofts new Team Collaboration offering, Teams, will be its primary communicatio

September 20, 2017

Customer experience can make or break your business. But how do you achieve outstanding customer service when you're dealing with outdated organizational structure, lagging technology, dated proces

September 22, 2017
In this podcast, we explore the future of work with Robert Brown, AVP of the Cognizant Center for the Future of Work, who helps us answer the question, "What do we do when machines do everything?"
September 8, 2017
Greg Collins, a technology analyst and strategist with Exact Ventures, delivers a status report on 5G implementation plans and tells enterprises why they shouldn't wait to move ahead on potential use ....
August 25, 2017
Find out what business considerations are driving the SIP trunking market today, and learn a bit about how satisfied enterprises are with their providers. We talk with John Malone, president of The Ea....
August 16, 2017
World Vision U.S. is finding lots of goodness in RingCentral's cloud communications service, but as Randy Boyd, infrastructure architect at the global humanitarian nonprofit, tells us, he and his team....
August 11, 2017
Alicia Gee, director of unified communications at Sutter Physician Services, oversees the technical team supporting a 1,000-agent contact center running on Genesys PureConnect. She catches us up on th....
August 4, 2017
Andrew Prokop, communications evangelist with Arrow Systems Integration, has lately been working on integrating enterprise communications into Internet of Things ecosystems. He shares examples and off....
July 27, 2017
Industry watcher Elka Popova, a Frost & Sullivan program director, shares her perspective on this acquisition, discussing Mitel's market positioning, why the move makes sense, and more.
July 14, 2017
Lantre Barr, founder and CEO of Blacc Spot Media, urges any enterprise that's been on the fence about integrating real-time communications into business workflows to jump off and get started. Tune and....
June 28, 2017
Communications expert Tsahi Levent-Levi, author of the popular BlogGeek.me blog, keeps a running tally and comprehensive overview of communications platform-as-a-service offerings in his "Choosing a W....
June 9, 2017
If you think telecom expense management applies to nothing more than business phone lines, think again. Hyoun Park, founder and principal investigator with technology advisory Amalgam Insights, tells ....
June 2, 2017
Enterprises strategizing on mobility today, including for internal collaboration, don't have the luxury of learning as they go. Tony Rizzo, enterprise mobility specialist with Blue Hill Research, expl....
May 24, 2017
Mark Winther, head of IDC's global telecom consulting practice, gives us his take on how CPaaS providers evolve beyond the basic building blocks and address maturing enterprise needs.
May 18, 2017
Diane Myers, senior research director at IHS Markit, walks us through her 2017 UC-as-a-service report... and shares what might be to come in 2018.
April 28, 2017
Change isn't easy, but it is necessary. Tune in for advice and perspective from Zeus Kerravala, co-author of a "Digital Transformation for Dummies" special edition.
April 20, 2017
Robin Gareiss, president of Nemertes Research, shares insight gleaned from the firm's 12th annual UCC Total Cost of Operations study.
March 23, 2017
Tim Banting, of Current Analysis, gives us a peek into what the next three years will bring in advance of his Enterprise Connect session exploring the question: Will there be a new model for enterpris....
March 15, 2017
Andrew Prokop, communications evangelist with Arrow Systems Integration, discusses the evolving role of the all-important session border controller.
March 9, 2017
Organizer Alan Quayle gives us the lowdown on programmable communications and all you need to know about participating in this pre-Enterprise Connect hackathon.
March 3, 2017
From protecting against new vulnerabilities to keeping security assessments up to date, security consultant Mark Collier shares tips on how best to protect your UC systems.
February 24, 2017
UC analyst Blair Pleasant sorts through the myriad cloud architectural models underlying UCaaS and CCaaS offerings, and explains why knowing the differences matter.
February 17, 2017
From the most basics of basics to the hidden gotchas, UC consultant Melissa Swartz helps demystify the complex world of SIP trunking.
February 7, 2017
UC&C consultant Kevin Kieller, a partner at enableUC, shares pointers for making the right architectural choices for your Skype for Business deployment.
February 1, 2017
Elka Popova, a Frost & Sullivan program director, shares a status report on the UCaaS market today and offers her perspective on what large enterprises need before committing to UC in the cloud.
January 26, 2017
Andrew Davis, co-founder of Wainhouse Research and chair of the Video track at Enterprise Connect 2017, sorts through the myriad cloud video service options and shares how to tell if your choice is en....
January 23, 2017
Sheila McGee-Smith, Contact Center/Customer Experience track chair for Enterprise Connect 2017, tells us what we need to know about the role cloud software is playing in contact centers today.