Emergency Communications on Campus

by Hfbtech

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Campus safety is a concern high on everyone’s minds these days, but are students aware of efforts being made to make their campuses safer? A study done by Margolis Healy, a professional services firm that specializes in campus safety, found that “thirty-one percent of [study] participants responded that their institution does not have any staff dedicated to emergency preparedness efforts.” Furthermore, only “54.7% noted that their institution had conducted a comprehensive hazard and vulnerability assessment critical to the development of appropriate all-hazards emergency planning.” Overall, this study shows that there is still a lot that needs to be done to communicate with students about emergency preparedness efforts.

Communicating Current Campus Safety Strategies

Campuses across the country have very different campus safety plans. For example:

  • At Austin Peay State University, different departments work together – campus safety, student affairs, and housing – to create programs and safety guidelines that they instill within the campus culture.
  • At Ohio University there is an active shooter training program that the school’s police department puts on for students.
  • At The Ohio State University, the school does not require students or faculty to have active shooter training, but they did release a YouTube video called “Surviving an Active Shooter” that has received over 39,000 views.

Depending on the size of the university, it makes sense to communicate with students in different ways about what to do in an emergency. With that said, most campuses do agree on the use of blue light emergency phones as a way for students to call for help during an emergency on campus. 

Blue Light Emergency Phones


Blue light emergency phones connect directly to campus police and when used, a blue strobe light goes off to alert those in the surrounding area and make it easier for officers to find the person calling for help. Although these phones are on many campuses nationwide, they are not used very often. In fact:

  • At Carnegie Mellon University, the blue light phones have only been used 85 times since 2012.
  • At Penn State, the phones are very rarely used but there are no plans to remove them because it has become an expectation that they can be found on any campus across the country.

Although not used very often, these phones provide peace of mind for students that they will be able to reach 911 at any time because with one touch of a button on the blue light phone, help is on the way. In fact, in an article about blue light phones on campuses, Robin Hattersly Gray, editor of Campus Safety Magazine, mentioned that many people are too stressed during an emergency to dial 911 or their 7-digit campus safety number. Blue light phones eliminate this stress because there is no need to dial a number.

Providing Students With a One-Touch Solution at Their Fingertips

Blue light phones provide a one touch solution that students and parents clearly value. However, when it actually comes to an emergency, finding a blue light phone is not going to be the first thing on a student’s mind, especially when they have a cell phone in their pocket. With RapidSOS Haven, students can have access to 911 with the touch of a button, similar to the blue light system. Haven is also a reliable solution because it can work over any medium – cellular, WIFI, or bluetooth. It transmits your location and relevant medical and demographic information directly to 911 dispatchers and campus police even when you are unable to speak. 

Click here to get Haven.