Report Reveals Community Colleges Lacking Integrated Mass Notification Systems

In times of crisis on a college or university campus, the ability to quickly communicate safety information to students, faculty and visitors is critically important. According to a recent study of Clery Act reports by Siemens Building Technologies division, analysis revealed that among institutions of higher learning, community colleges were least likely to have the integrated, multi-modal systems necessary to quickly reach the largest number of people when crisis strikes.

The Siemens-commissioned study Detailed Analysis of U.S. College and University Annual Clery Act Reports evaluated information submitted to the Federal government as part of the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act (Clery Act). The study analyzed data from a sample of 77 U.S. colleges and universities to provide deeper insight into which types of institutions have the most advanced mass notification systems and how these differences manifest themselves geographically.

To make these determinations, the study classified the communications platforms into four types: At Your Side (text messaging, email, etc.), Indoor (public address system, digital signage, posted notices, etc.), Outside (outside public address system, warning sirens, blue light towers, etc.) and Extended (social media, CCTV, etc.). The institutions were then placed into five maturity levels that reflected the integration of different types of technology and the number of methods used in a notification system. None of the schools were ranked in the top level. Some of the report’s findings include:

  • Community colleges are the least likely to have layered emergency communication plans, using mostly At Your Side methods
  • Public universities tend to have the most sophisticated plans, including three or more types of communications platforms
  • Overall, schools in the South have the most advanced notification plans with multi-modal systems that include three or more types of communications platforms

“Our goal is to give higher learning institutions the tools they need to understand and implement solid mass communications plans,” said Berkly Trumbo, National Business Manager for Siemens Integrated Security Solutions. “Protecting the safety and well-being of every member of the campus community is a key priority for colleges and universities and failure to do so is really not an option. Our research clearly shows that many colleges and universities can and should enhance their systems in order have the best chance of alerting more people and weathering an imminent threat situation.”

As a follow up to their initial study, Siemens plans to analyze this year’s Clery Reports scheduled for release later this month.

To download a copy of Detailed Analysis of U.S. College and University Annual Clery Act Reports, please visit www.usa.siemens.com/cleryreport.

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