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Communicating During an Emergency

Emergency Preparedness

I'm Brandon Lorenz, senior editor for Building Operating Management magazine.

In the wake of tragedies like the shooting at Virginia Tech, there has been a renewed emphasis placed on using mass notification systems to alert building occupants to a potential emergency. But the fact remains that any mass notification system is only as good as the humans who will operate it during an emergency.

For example, a review of the Virginia Tech shooting faulted campus officials because the campus emergency response plan, didn't considering a shooting scenario and didn't put police high enough in the university's emergency decision-making hierarchy

Among the recommendations for the university? Broaden the campus threat assessment team, train students in staff annually in how to respond to an emergency, and campus officials should share information more quickly during an emergency

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