Do you really want your risk mitigation plans based upon a cell phone or the reliability of the provider network? When "Boom" happens everyone pulls out a phone and begins either a live Facebook stream, snapchat or some other social media transmission over the cell/data network. Reliability is out the window, the cell/data network is now down. How can Emergency Operations depend on this as a means to communicate with their students, visitors, employees, constituents, etc? What if the visitor or employee doesn't have the app? A reliable communication device with the highest level of intelligibility on reliable campus network wins this argument. You have to plan as though no one has a cell phone because you can plan on them not working after the "boom."
What if the campus purchased "Blue Lights" that did not provide 24/7 full supervision? (And I don't mean someone walking around campus and testing them once or twice a year.) At the same time if you can't understand what the person in the SOC is saying and the person at the stanchion can clearly hear the instructions, now what? What do you say to someone that pressed the help button and it isn't operational? How will their lawyer use this against the institution; sign on the stanchion says: "Out of order, keep running!"
Emergency Operations Planning using ICS All Hazards approach has two significant bullets that the security industry has seemed to forgotten or never learned:
- Resources and Assets
Public Address, Intercoms, "Blue Lights," Help Points, Phone Systems, Radio Systems, Elevator Communications, Parking Control Systems and similar, should all be considered resources for unified communications when an event occurs. All of these resources and assets should be considered in All-Hazards planning. What's more the SOC should not have to touch multiple "master stations" to communicate to all of these resources. Institutions are now drilling and testing how long it takes to get a critical message to everyone during an event. How long is acceptable?
Adding more cameras and analytics is not the answer either. Coming out of the video space I always thought the more cameras you have the greater the situational awareness. What I have since learned is you need to be able to "See Something" AND "Say Something" or it's worthless to have all the video.
The concept of “All Hazards” Emergency Management essentially means that providers must be prepared to address the ever-expanding scope of emergencies that could potentially impact a campus/community. Incident Action Plans (IAP) also include "Resource Typing." During a disaster (boom), an emergency manager knows what capability a resource needs to have to respond efficiently and effectively. Locking or unlocking doors, eyes on the scene and clear reliable communications are a must. A "blue light" stanchion could and should be part of the resources the SOC can depend on to Alert and Inform those in harm's way.
Maybe it is time to start thinking out of the box on how to use all communications before during and after an All Hazards event. Much more could be said . . .