Page 54 - College Planning & Management, July/August 2017
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Hall says such warnings can help with threats such as torna- does. He notes that while on most campuses a text or email alert and storm sirens will be activated, professors generally do not check their phones during class and do not allow students to do that either.
“Storm sirens are meant to be heard outdoors, so frequently they will not be heard in a classroom,” he says. “Having a distinct tone and message via a fire alarm system can allow prompt notifi- cation of non-fire emergencies.”
Notification on the Go
At the same time, systems that integrate with mobile devices do have much to offer, according to Kelley Stalder, engineer in the State Fire Marshal’s Office, Texas Department of Insurance.
“We think there is a lot of potential for systems that integrate with smartphones,” he says. “Every student seems to have one and while they might lose other things, they seem to keep track of their phone.” He says that privacy and misplaced phone issues can be addressed; smartphone integration can help college officials determine who is in an area, track their successful evacuation and control access based on the location of the phone.
These tips for college leaders are offered by Columbus State Com- munity College (With campuses located in several communities in Ohio, Columbus State Community College was named #1 for Best Campus Security 2016 by the website
• Safety and security design consultants should be retained early during design and construction for system recommendations.
• A risk analysis of the building’s contents and risks inherent to certain educational programs such as aviation can determine the appropriate fire detection and suppression systems.
• Designers and planners should consider best practice in occupant design which will provide safer and timelier evacuations, enhanced by integrated emergency messaging directing crowd flow via public address systems integrated into fire systems, smartphone apps and digital signage.
• Just as Building Information Modeling (BIM) software programs have resulted in more efficient buildings, the evolution of Fire Dynamic Simulator software programs can lead to more effective fire systems in the original building design based on actual modeling of your proposed building attributes in the event of a fire.
• The best fire suppression system is one that’s never used. Sensor technology is evolving — such as infrared devices that can sense even sooner when the potential for fire exists — sparing the college from property loss, water and fire agent damage, and continuity of operation impacts.
“Today’s notification systems that are tied to fire detection, alarm and sprinkler systems are more advanced than ever,”
says Jana Rankin, CEO of VuTeur, an Austin, TX-based security tech company. She points to the emergence of real-time location system (RTLS) services as an especially promising trend, since the systems are built in to devices such as smartphones and tablets and can be used for two-way communication in the event of an emergency.
“Using RTLS can also open up a wealth of possibilities for streamlining response and training for individuals within
a college or university setting where mobile device usage is prevalent,” she says. Rankin notes that the system works by en- gaging the existing WiFi networks already in existence, thereby communicating directly with any device that’s connected to the facility’s network.
Whatever technologies are employed, special attention is merited for residential facilities, according to Billy Findley, vice president
of service management at Koorsen Fire and Security. “With a large number of students living and sleeping in a single building, early warning that a fire is happening is critical,” he says. “It takes time to

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