Harvard Security talking with students

It’s always helpful to peek into how our peers manage security concerns, emergency preparedness and response — particularly an organization that’s known for progressive, cream-of-the-crop practices, like Harvard.

Last month, Harvard University published its Annual Security Report and Annual Fire Safety Report, fulfilling a Clery Act requirement for schools receiving federal funding. The reports outline action steps and resources available for various emergency scenarios, from burglary to arson, sexual assault, fires, suspicious behavior, and more. They also share statistics for reported campus and campus-related crimes from 2014 to 2016.

Among the information covered, we’ll zoom into Harvard’s emergency management framework. The university uses a variety of emergency plans and tools designed to be scalable to the needs of the emergency, states the report. Its emergency alert tools include a high-speed, community-wide mass notification system, its main websites as well as a dedicated emergency website, automated phone notifications, social media, email, and more.

This brings us to one crucial practice we see in leading organizations: the use of varied communications vehicles and formats to ensure no intended recipient ever misses critical alerts, no matter their location, distractions, physical impairment, or communications barriers. Layering communications is particularly important when an organization has only moments to disseminate instructions that can save lives or prevent harm.

Is that a capability you could activate tomorrow, in an instant, should an emergency arise?

You can access the full reports below: