Situational Awareness Creates More Time for Prevention and Response

This blog post summarizes a previously recorded webinar on how to improve situational awareness on your campus. A link to that webinar appears at the conclusion of this post.

“Right now the school I work at seems to not really care about security. … So how do you get the administration to change their security mindset to realize that it is very important?”

This is one of the questions we received yesterday during our webinar about fostering situational awareness on campus. I’d like to say I’m surprised by such a question, but I’m not because society continues to struggle with what I call the “apathy factor.” I’m not a psychologist, but maybe we don’t like to dwell on negative, worst-case scenarios for fear of, well, fear. No one wants to believe that an incident with mass losses will occur on “my campus,” but what if it did? 

Regardless of the cause – gas explosion, terrorist attack, armed intruder, tornado – these real and recent events from around the world underscore the need for awareness. As Brad Spicer of SafePlans explains, you have to know your environment and what’s dangerous in and around it. Then I think we both believe the next steps are to figure out what you can do to reduce impacts and respond quickly when you need to. 

You see, situational awareness is a mindset and overall approach, not for causing fear but rather, for creating time for you and your staff to prevent and/or respond to a potential threat. As Brad asked during the webinar,

“When would you rather know an intruder is present – when he’s in the parking lot or at the door?”

Even the smallest observation can mitigate risk, and it’s up to all of us to be aware. Safety and security is everyone’s job regardless of whether or not you wear a badge. When a gunman entered Atlanta’s Ronald E. McNair Discovery Learning Academy in August 2013, the bookkeeper’s heroic efforts helped resolve the situation without any loss of life.

In addition to developing emergency preparedness and response plans, including crisis training, you also can implement technology to augment and automate situational awareness and response management. You can arm your staff with knowledge, detailed information about what’s happening, where it’s happening, and what to do about it. With today’s smarter networks and devices plus software to tie all of them together, it’s easier and more cost-effective than ever to create a safety and security bubble over a single campus or an entire district. 

Situational awareness technology can integrate disparate alarm and communication systems to ensure that real-time information reaches both on- and off-site responders.

Such centralized monitoring and automated alerting helps to reduce confusion and panic that can lead to delays and costly mistakes, speed decision-making/response, and restore order as soon as possible. In this day and age, there’s really no excuse for ignorance. The world is full of screens and other communication end points, and our job is making sure information gets to all of them to better protect people, property, business and convenience.

Here is a link to access our pre-recording webinar on How to Foster Situational Awareness on Campus. If you’d like to get more strategic about risk management by automating your situational awareness and response, please know that we’re here to help.

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