Campus safety systems should integrate mobile messaging

Just a few days ago, Campus Safety released the results of its 2017 Emergency Notification Survey. Respondents included more than 1,000 security professionals from the healthcare and education realms, sharing challenges and successes they’ve experienced with mass notifications.

Just over half of respondents (51%) are planning or considering the purchase of notification solutions in the next year, with K-12 schools and districts showing the greatest interest. “Overall, the most popular emergency notification methods currently deployed on educational and healthcare campuses are emails, text alerts, intercoms and website announcements,” CS reports.

Feedback from respondents on mass notification uses and lessons included the following:

Emergency Notification System Performance

  • “Myriad of notification methods have reduced the ‘Why didn’t you tell me?’ concerns from parents.”
  • “[Achieved] nearly 100% communication using several modalities.”
  • “Used as a wider communication tool for notification of all staff for emergency events, which staff appreciates even if the incident does not involve them.”

Vendor & System Selection

  • “Find a system that integrates messaging systems.”
  • “Get a fully integrated system. All our systems are stand-alone and must be activated separately.”
  • “Find the most user-friendly interface for your alert staff to use. Otherwise mistakes will be made during a time of crisis.”

Facilities Issues

  • “Able to quickly disseminate information regarding a power outage during a final exam day. Was able to effectively communicate rescheduling.”
  • “Systems notifications allowed staff to reroute around a major traffic collision at our campus entrance.”
  • “Effectively evacuated nine buildings after a 3-inch gas line was struck in the middle of campus.” 

Weather Emergencies

  • “Great way to alert for school closures.”
  • “Just last night the system was dispatched at about 2:10 a.m. with a tornado/seek shelter message. It lets students who are outside or off campus know to immediately get inside and seek shelter.”
  • “Able to contact 25% of off-duty employees following a F3 tornado that took out local wire phone services, ham radios and satellite phone.”

Violence/Lockdown Scenarios

  • “During an active shooter situation on a neighboring campus, we were able to alert all departments on campus immediately; had the entire campus on lockdown within the first five minutes of the emergency and had 15 additional public safety personnel on site within 15 minutes.”
  • “Utilized to inform parents of a false alarm/threat that gained traction on social media.”
  • “Used text solution to provide discrete alerts to multi-school staff regarding soft lockdowns at specific schools for medical incidents.”


  • “Had a pack of wild dogs attack a deer on campus. Used the system to alert to stay in place.”
  • “Media misreported a school closing. Used the system to inform students/parents/staff school was in session.”
  • “Notification to parents has been successful during reunification drill to notify them where to pick up their child.”

Want more? View detailed charts and slides here.