e2campus provides immediate notification – last active shooting drill in 2008

e2campus+provides+immediate+notification+-+last+active+shooting+drill+in+2008

Autumn Gramigna, Managing Editor

Marywood’s historically low crime rate has made it a safe place for students to spend four years pursuing higher education. But, comforting as that crime rate might be, events like the one at Sandy Hook Elementary prove that violence can strike even in the unlikeliest of places. This has prompted many in their own communities to ask: Are we prepared?

In the event of an emergency, Marywood has a specific campus emergency notification procedure policy. According to the Campus Safety webpage, this policy “authorizes use of the e2campus system for immediate alerts and notifications to the campus community, prior to and during a potentially catastrophic, life-threatening emergency.”

The emergency notification system works by sending simple, pre-established messages that identify the type of crisis, location, and what action to take, to faculty, staff, and students. The messages are sent through a variety of channels including, but not limited to: text messages, voice messages, e-mails, television message boards, supervisor notifications, and door-to-door notifications.

Two outdoor warning sirens/public address units are also in place.  If an emergency arises that threatens the safety of people outdoors on campus, the sirens are activated. However, this notification system lacks some important safety features, as the sirens sometimes echo and the messages cannot be clearly heard on all parts of the campus. According to Marywood’s website, “All possible adjustments have been made to the system to improve clearness of the voice message.”

 Campus Safety officers must also become familiar with an active shooter policy. According to David Elliott, senior director for university safety, the policy is internal and only communicated to members of the Campus Safety staff.

“The active shooter policy emergency response plan is not posted on the website. If students, faculty, or staff needed to review it, they could get a copy of it, but it’s not a public document,” said Elliott.

In 2008, Marywood University Campus Safety officers participated in an active shooter drill. “We want our Campus Safety officers to be aware of what they should do. Obviously we’re not an armed campus, so we’re going to have to do what we can to protect the students and not engage the shooter,” Elliott said.

Once a year, the Campus Safety officers participate in training. During these training sessions, they review all the policies and procedures for safety on campus. They also receive a copy of all of the safety procedures upon being hired and are expected to continually review the policies and procedures.

Students, however, are rarely briefed on campus safety procedures. Kayla McNamara, junior music therapy major, said she has never been briefed on any emergency procedures since enrolling at Marywood.

“They don’t review any policies or discuss emergency procedures in the dorms,” she said. “Campus Safety should be coming into the dorms to go over policies and procedures. Security policies are different for each dorm, so some students seem unsure of what rules to follow.”

Though some residents may be unsure of emergency procedures, all resident assistants are made aware and briefed on campus safety procedures in the dorms.

According to Ryan Kassis, residence director, RAs participate in crisis management and emergency response training during semi-annual training sessions.

Elliot said that Campus Safety will take part in a drill designed to train them to handle a chemical spill during spring break. His office is also preparing for a full evacuation fire drill, which will take place in August. After that, Elliott plans to begin working on another active shooter drill. However, only Campus Safety officers and select faculty and staff will be asked to participate; students will not be able to participate.

To review all of Marywood’s emergency policies and procedures, visit www.thewoodword.org under the Community section.