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Better safe than sorry: Campus safety committee provides updates

Kyra Mejia, Staff Writer

The Armstrong Campus safety committee issued an email to all Armstrong employees and students on Feb. 8 containing updates on the improvement of safety throughout campus. The committee is composed of staff members.

Improvements for outdoor campus lighting were among the issues discussed. The committee plans to have a “night walk” to investigate areas of campus that could benefit from additional lighting. It is tentatively scheduled to take place after Spring break between March 21 through April 1.

Some of the committee’s plans are already underway. A test of the BLAST message system was held Feb. 4 at approximately 12 p.m. The system is designed to alert students of emergencies at the contact information on file for staff and students. Students who did not receive the test messages can update their BLAST contact information through Port of Armstrong.

The mobile app, Pirate Guardian, continues to receive promotion. The app allows students to seek help in the event of an emergency on and off campus. SGA president Mathias Downs explained that students can input emergency contacts into the app. In the case of an incident, the app will alert those emergency contacts of your last known location after a selected amount of time.

“Let’s say, for example, you input into the app how long it takes you to get from the learning commons to Windward. So, you press a button in the app that says you are heading from the commons to Windward. If for some reason you don’t get there, [the app] alerts your emergency contacts,” Downs said. Students can also have their location sent automatically to campus police and receive an immediate follow-up call.

Campus police patrol schedules and the amount of on-duty police are also seeing changes as a result of the plan. Police are now set to patrol campus housing areas between the hours of 8 p.m. and 4 a.m. to increase student security during later hours. Armstrong now offers an officer to patrol the Liberty Center campus from 5–9:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday.

Many projects are still being revised which include an evaluation of classroom door locks, and a revision of the Hurricane Preparation Plan. A Crisis Communication Plan drill will also be taking place.

Chris Corrigan, Vice President for Business and Finance, gave a brief description of what the committee’s drill will entail.

“The Crisis Communication Plan drill will include a fictional scenario developed by a member of the university’s Crisis Response Team. The participants will receive an email notification, letting them know that the drill will take place within the next 10 days, without specifying the exact date and time. The point of the drill is to test the team’s response at a time when they may not expect it, just as a real incident would occur in an unexpected way. The drill is designed to test the university’s crisis management protocol, from key messages to timeliness of response. Any changes that are made as a result of lessons we learn from the drill will be incorporated into Armstrong’s revised Crisis Communication Plan”, explained Corrigan.  

Armstrong Police have already installed manual door latches to the classroom in the Science center. Their effectiveness is currently being evaluated to decide whether to install similar latches in other buildings as well. The Safety committee has created a subcommittee to focus on the evacuation and preparations in the case of a hurricane disaster. They hope to have the plan finished in May. The committee is also preparing a draft for the president’s cabinet in which they would like to install new surveillance cameras and upgrade their surveillance system.

The Armstrong community is encouraged to contact the committee via email at campussafetycommitee@armstrong.edu with suggestions or thoughts regarding Armstrong’s campus safety.

 

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