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Selecting an Emergency Alert System for Your Campus: Factors to Consider

Anton Vdovin - Sep 21, 2017 1:25:12 PM

Campuses all over the world house tens of thousands of students. It is therefore imperative for these campuses to protect their students, not to mention their faculty and staff, from tragedies and disasters – be they man-made or natural –that can strike anytime.

There are many kinds of alert systems available today, with many vendors offering distinctive features. As such, choosing the right system can be difficult; it is easy to make the mistake of selecting the most cost effective option. Emergency alert system needs vary across schools, universities and other educational institutions, and these needs should be the foremost consideration. Prior to deciding on a system to deploy, a thorough examination of the needs of the campus population – students, faculty, staff and even parents – the size of the campus and even its location must first be made.

Regardless of the individual needs of each campus, there are four main factors that every campus administrator like you should keep in mind in deciding about which alert system is best for his or her institution.

1. The system’s capability for integration. Are you looking for a new emergency notification system, or do you merely wish to upgrade your existing one? 

If you are implementing a new system, you must think long term, and see whether the system can grow as your campus develops and expands its reach. Similarly, it is crucial to ensure that any upgrades or additions to your existing system will function seamlessly with whatever is already in place. Otherwise, you risk extra costs and glitches that can be detrimental to the proper functioning of the system.

2. The system’s coverage. Various emergency alert systems come with different sets of features – from the simplest to the most complex. Choosing a system can be challenging; it is easy to get distracted by specific characteristics and services offered by certain systems. However, you must keep your eye on the main aim: a comprehensive coverage. 

To have comprehensive coverage, a system must employ different kinds of notification that will remove whatever obstacles there may be in the path to alerting the campus populace if and when emergency strikes. This means that wherever students, faculty and staff are within the campus, they must have access to a computer or a mobile device that would broadcast the alert and inform them of the emergency. For this, you must choose a system that comes with multiple communication channels for sending and receiving alerts.

3. The system’s alerting and notification functionalities. Maybe you have an existing system that notifies the entire campus about emergencies through various types of strobe lights and sound alerts, all of which have been drilled into everyone. You succeed in making everyone know that there is an emergency at hand, but how do they know what to do next? Do they run for cover? Do they head to the nearest fire exit? 

Getting people’s attention is not enough, so you must ensure that whatever system you choose allows you to provide specific information and instruction to guarantee everyone’s safety.

4. The system’s compliance with various regulations. Your choice of an emergency alert system must be in compliance with the following codes, as well as regulations specific to the locality of your campus: 

  • Higher Education Opportunity Act. This refers to the mandate under federal statutes that schools, universities and colleges must have the capability to issue emergency warnings during times of need. This act also refers to the requirements for timely emergency warning. 
  • Americans with Disabilities Act. This refers to the accessibility of whatever alert or notification you employ to persons with disabilities in your campus. 
  • National Fire Alarm Signaling Code (NFPA 72). This code refers to alarm systems used for fire, weather, terrorist, chemical, nuclear and biological emergencies.

If you are looking for the perfect emergency alert system for your campus, it would be best to put your trust in DeskAlerts, the perfect software that guarantees the safety of your entire campus through quick and efficient emergency monitoring and notification and information dissemination. Learn more about how we can help make your campus a safer place; call us at 1-703-881-3166 or email us at sales@deskalerts.com.

Topics: Corporate Communication

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