From Galain President Rick Wimberly’s Blog “Alerts and Notifications: Best Practices For Emergency Notification Programs”

in Emergency Management Magazine

A comprehensive emergency notification policy will strive to push emergency information through as many channels as possible. On a college campus, the channel that springs to mind most quickly, perhaps, is the one that pushes notifications to students via mobile devices.

But what if professors make students turn off their devices when they enter class?  Or what if students aren’t even allowed in academic buildings at all?

The ability of a cellphone to disrupt and distract is undeniable, and as a result, many schools, campuses, and professors have policies prohibiting their use during class. While most schools appear to have etiquette policies in place asking students to simply “silence your cell phone” (which would still allow a Wireless Emergency Alert to be heard and other messages to flash on a screen), there are some schools, such as Wyoming Catholic College that have banned cell phones entirely (indeed, Wyoming Catholic College asks students to forgo Internet and television in dorm rooms as well).

While we are not proposing to debate that students, and perhaps adults too, should be a little less “connected” during the day, we are asking you to consider whether your campus cell phone policy could conflict with your emergency alerting plans. It’s a useful discussion that needs to happen. Using lots of channels will help.

All the best,

Rick

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