Campus emergency alerts, simplified

One emergency app tries to eliminate student confusion during a campus crisis

campus-emergency-appIt might take days for a college student to gather every piece of information on how to respond to a campus emergency–from assaults, to fires, to shootings and extreme weather.

Detailed on various college sites, brochures, and other campus literature, instructions for how to respond to an emergency are often scattered and disorganized, if not thorough.

That’s why colleges and universities have condensed their emergency notification and response protocol into a single, easy-to-use mobile app called In Case of Crisis, designed to serve as a sort of one-stop shop for students’ emergency needs (and instructions).

Chris Britton, general manager for In Case of Crisis, said many colleges spend uncountable hours creating protocols for how students should respond to incidents like campus shootings or incoming tornadoes, but it’s all for naught when students don’t have immediate access to the vital information.

“Bringing all that [information] together in one place, right there on your phone, is really an important step” in making a college campus more secure, Britton said. “No one is going to have time in the heat of the moment to go and seek out the necessary steps for what they should do during an emergency situation.”

The In Case of Crisis app allows universities to publish their emergency procedures and instructions via an online portal to employees’, students’ and constituents’ Apple, Android, and Amazon Kindle mobile devices.

(Next page: The most important thing in a crisis)

Perhaps the most important part: accessing information on the In Case of Crisis app doesn’t require an internet connection, meaning students and campus employees could read through protocols even if a storm, for instance, knocked out the campus network.

The simplicity of In Case of Crisis has made fans of college and university police departments that try their best to keep the campus community abreast of the latest suggestions and rules for how to respond to an emergency.

That goes for police officials at Northwest Missouri State University, which recently adopted the mobile app.

“There is a tremendous amount of great emergency information right at our community’s fingertips, and helping our students and employees know what to do when a crisis situation occurs is a top priority at Northwest,” said Lieutenant Mike Ceperley, emergency management coordinator with the Northwest Missouri State University Police. “This technology gives us another tool to further enhance the safety of our community.”

Pete Amico, director of the Office of Emergency Management at Rowan University in Glassboro, N.J., said 500 of the school’s 11,000 students had downloaded the In Case of Crisis app in the first few months after the school announced adoption of the app.

“It provides a lot of flexibility for us, and that’s what we were looking for,” Amico said, adding that the app’s push notifications let the university warn students of oncoming storms last year. “We needed better access. That’s what we got.”


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