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Preparing for an emergency on and off campus

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By LisaMarie Sinatra

During September, we’ll be highlighting a number of tips, information and resources you can use and share with friends that can help you stay safer while on campus or off. This week, I’d like to ask: do you know if your campus has prepared for an emergency? Now that you’re fully entrenched in daily college life, it’s important to know how to best prepare and adhere to safety protocols away from home.

According to an article, Campus Mass Notification: Is Your Campus Prepared For A Crisis? in NFPA Journal by author Steve Corich, “Recent college shootings have driven home a number of lessons for law enforcement officials. One of those is the importance of rapidly notifying students and employees of emergencies so that life-saving action can begin immediately.”

Since this article was written in 2008, much has been done to keep everyone who works and attends classes on college campuses safe from harm. Whether it’s shootings, bomb threats or a fire, everyone needs to know what to do, and follow these instructions carefully.

I remember as a recent student getting my masters degree at Boston University, how impressed I was by the system they had in place. When a rash of robberies created a bit of panic amongst the masses, notifications of what to do and who to contact with questions came through my phone via email, text and voicemail. The same was true when a suspicious package left in one of the hallways prompted law enforcement to evacuate the area and notify us about what was happening and what we needed to do. While there was panic in both cases, I remember feeling a bit more comforted about the situation knowing my university made it a priority to communicate with us often and work as quickly as possible to contain the situation. Can the same be said where you attend school?

As you settle into your daily routine at your college or university, make it a priority to find out about the emergency notification system the administration has put in place for your safety. Interested in what other colleges are doing in the name of safety? An NFPA Journal article about Weslyan University shows the priority it has meeting the challenge of making its unique student housing fire safe.

Learn more about this and other fire and life safety information on NFPA’s campus and dorm safety web page. Interested You can also check out the

Source:: NFPA – Safety Information

Michael S. Williams

Michael S. Williams

Williams founded the Fire Services Training Institute in 1995 to find solutions to the challenges confronting the volunteer fire service. He has been an active member of California State Firefighters Association (CSFA) since 1994, having served on the volunteer and public relations committees, and as a southern division deputy director. He sits on several local organizations including the Santa Barbara County Fire Safe Council, the Tri-Counties Training Officers Association, Santa Barbara Chapter of CAER and is a founding member of the Santa Barbara PIO group Emergency Public Information Communicators (EPIC). He has been the author of many articles and a columnist for a local newspaper on public safety matters. He is also the co-host of Community Alert on KZSB AM-1290 in Santa Barbara. Williams has been a member of the California State Board of Fire Services since 2008. Prior to becoming involved in the volunteer fire service, Williams was a California police officer for 12 ½ years and a POST certified Field Training Officer. He is a licensed private investigator and security consultant specializing in self-insured, government and insurance defense assignments.


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