The unprecedented school massacre at Virginia Tech has underscored one terrifying fact: Such attacks can never be completely prevented, and college campuses are especially vulnerable.
That was the admission by universities of all sizes and types around the country, at which security and disaster experts weighed in only hours after a gunman's shooting spree left at least 32 dead and at least 15 injured at the Blacksburg, Va., school.
The reality is, at your University you may have many precautions and work consistently with the campus community on preventing crime, but as long as we live in a democratic society, there's always an underlying vulnerability.
Though there are limits as to what schools can do to prevent such crimes and heighten security — there are safety measures schools can and do take.
Among them: Having the ability to broadcast important information to all faculty, guards at academic and dormitory buildings; campus police, students and parents.
Imagine at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, a large suburban campus with more than 34,000 students (50,000 total at the school's three main locations), and at UCLA, an urban state school with a total of 37,000 students (more than 10,000 of whom are residents of the university). How can you contact this population swiftly, when this group is moving from one location to another both on and off campus?
Incidents like this can be prevented. I think the best you can do is try to minimize the impact and loss of life it has and make it as unattractive as possible, to take such insane and morally wrong actions.
For example, Rutgers University has 58 sworn officers — all are trained as state police and are fully armed. They patrol the campus 24 hours a day, seven days a week via car, bicycle and ATV, as well as on foot. In addition to police, Rutgers has a security department of about 35 officers plus a student component of 110 security-trained students who are "the ears and eyes of the college’s security force". So there are 203+ people on the staff covering a 168 hour work week, which means on this campus, the size of a small city, they are spread really thin. During sports and other events that attract large numbers of attendees, Community Services Officers are used to conduct bag searches and provide additional support.
Though tragedies like that at Virginia Tech can never be completely eradicated, universities should make sure to inform their students and faculty of danger and get them involved whenever possible in the planning of disaster management scenarios.
When the world falls apart, it's the person next to you who's going to save you. In spite of fears of panic and mayhem, people can be trusted with frightening news. Getting everyone important news as fast as possible can save lives.
Virginia Tech officials and police have already come down under fire for not placing the campus on complete lockdown immediately after the first, early-morning shooting. The second shooting spree, during which the majority of the victims were killed, took place roughly two hours later — many students and faculty were unaware of the first incident and any danger and threats on campus at all.
The university said it believed the first crime was an isolated, domestic case and may not have been related to the second shooting and was under control — even though police and administrators had admitted they did not have the gunman under arrest.
It's possible that further investigation will reveal Virginia Tech could have done more to alert students of what was going on — and possibly prevent the shooting from being as catastrophic as it was.
If the story is true, that the guy went into a dormitory, did damage and then two hours later was doing horrendous damage in another place and nobody was warned, will be a major organizational failure, with years of litigation to follow.
OPC Marketing’s EOSA – Emergency Management SpitFire AutoDialer offers pre-recorded notifications that can be broadcasted-- giving thousands emergency alert advisories and telling them where to head and where to obtain emergency medical help including instructions, shelter or providing other crucial safety instructions, in a matter of minutes.
With EOSA you can send a broadcast alert warning to specific campuses, students or faculty groups, police, emergency responders, communities or zip codes in the event of severe weather warnings or other serious conditions.
When thousands of students are at risk, people, businesses and homes are in harms way SpitFireX AutoDialer Systems from OPC Marketing are an effective way to communicate quickly to phones and cell phones.
Messages can also be broadcast from your SpitFire EOSA AutoDialer seeking volunteers or special assistance from emergency personnel. S
The effectiveness of response during emergencies depends on the amount of planning and training performed.
One of the biggest uses may be distributing messages after the incident. Where to seek counseling, support, answer questions, and get financial services and more. Many people want to share their experiences to help you put the pieces together.
OPC Marketing’s EOSA – Emergency Management SpitFire AutoDialer can be demonstrated by calling OPC Marketing at 800-859-5924 or 972-267-3279.
OPC would like to demonstrate the power of effective communications in the event of a man made or natural disaster. EOSA can be connected to over any internet enabled device, from anywhere to anywhere. We will even host the systems in our data center offsite.
The best emergency action plans are required by a particular emergency standard, the plan must be in writing. The plan must include, as a minimum, the following elements:
(1) Emergency escape procedures and emergency escape route assignments,
(2) Procedures to be followed by emergency response teams who remain to perform (or shut down) critical city or neighborhood operations before the area is evacuated,
(3) Procedures to account for all citizens after emergency evacuation has been completed,
(4) Rescue and medical duties for those emergency personnel, who are to perform them,
(5) The preferred means for reporting escalating incidents and other emergencies, and
(6) Names or regular job titles of persons or departments to be contacted for further information or explanation of duties under the plan.
If emergency management is not interested in sound planned protection and in minimizing property loss, little can be done to promote a safe university, college, neighborhood or workplace.
It is therefore emergency management's responsibility to see that a program is instituted and that it is frequently reviewed, tested and updated. The input and support of all people must be obtained to ensure an effective program.
The emergency response plan should be developed locally and should be comprehensive enough to deal with all types of emergencies specific to that area.
Therefore, it will be necessary to perform a hazard assessment to determine hazards, and potentially dangerous conditions including toxic materials in local workplaces.
The emergency response teams must list in detail the procedures to be taken by those employees who must remain behind to care for essential area operations until their evacuation becomes absolutely necessary.
This may include monitoring area power supplies, water supplies, and other essential services that cannot be shut down for every emergency alarm, and use of fire extinguishers.
For emergency evacuation, the use of the Universities street plans or workplace maps that clearly show the emergency escape routes and safe or refuge areas should be included in the plan. All emergency response teams must be told what actions they are to take in emergency situations that may occur in the college, such as a designated meeting location after evacuation.
Have a plan even if everything is wiped out, no electricity, no communications and no water. Emergency communications equipment such as amateur radio systems, public address systems, or portable radio units should be present for notifying people of the emergency and for contacting local authorities, such as law enforcement officials, private sector charitable groups, and the fire department.
This plan must be reviewed with local and state emergency response teams initially when the plan is developed, whenever anyone's responsibilities under the plan change, and whenever the plan is changed, amended or updated.
A copy should be kept where emergency response teams can refer to it at convenient times. In fact, to go a step further, the emergency response team leader could provide the emergency response team with a copy of the plan, particularly all new team members.
I have my kids both in College and in High School; I developed this system shortly after the Columbine tragedy to help in a major catastrophe. We are here to help and showcase our State-of-the-art emergency communication systems. We will work with you to help you develop your plan, and minimize the loss of life and property.
OPC Marketing is owned by Michael Henochowicz the founder of CompUSA.