There have been more than 140 school shootings in the US since the Sandy Hook massacre, according to the The Washington Times. It’s impossible to predict when and where terror will strike, but emergency alert measures, such as smart, campus-wide notification systems, are give administrators and families piece of mind. Alert systems are only as effective as their performance in time of crisis, however. This question is at the heart of a recent inquiry at Oregon’s Umpqua Community College.


The Oregon Live/The Oregonian reported that two automated emergency alert systems failed during October’s devastating shooting spree at Umpqua. The campus computer system offered no pop-up alerts. Students and faculty who had opted in to mobile emergency notifications received no texts. What did work was a campus-wide e-mail written manually and sent by the facilities department secretary.


I invite all tech stakeholders into a candid discussion: How can we maintain confidence in campus-wide emergency technologies if they fail when we need them the most? How can tech managers (re)evaluate their emergency systems to determine efficacy? How can we safeguard systems so that when crisis strikes, everyone on campus is alerted instantly?


Read the rest of the report, including testimony from instructors, via Oregon Live/The Oregonian.


Margot Douaihy is the editorial director of AV Technology magazine. She has taught at Marywood University in PA.