Heightened Security at Virginia Tech

On April 16, 2007, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in Blacksburg, Va., was the scene of one of the deadliest mass shootings in U.S. history. The chilling events that took place four years ago left 32 people dead and 25 injured all at the hands of one lone gunman, who later killed himself. As a result, the university took extra security precautions to avoid the possibility of any future events.

In 2007, university officials took two hours to notify students after the first shooting , which they thought was an isolated incident, Within that window, the gunman was moving throughout different areas on campus. By the time university officials had notified everyone on the campus the gunman had time to wreck havoc in a residence hall, go to the post office and mail his manifesto to NBC News, then take aim  in classrooms on another part of campus.

When a call came in at 9:37 a.m. on Aug. 4, 2011, that two kids saw a man carrying a gun on the Virginia Tech campus, the university implemented emergency communications response efforts surpassing prior tactics.

Four years later  with the  threat of another gunman roaming the campus, Virginia Tech officials notified students 28 minutes after they became aware of a suspected gunman. Verbal alerts sounded across campus, e-mail blasts went out , phone calls and text messages sent, and flashing boards went off inside buildings, all with the same purpose: advising everyone to stay indoors as emergency personnel were responding. 

It is unfortunate that it takes a tragic event to bring light to security flaws. But, fortunately, the university’s extra precautions in installing a comprehensive mass notification system prevented a future occurrence. No one was ever caught, but the way the university handled the immediate threat of a gunman showed a higher level of security than previously adopted on the campus.

Posted by Christina Miralla on Aug 12, 2011

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