The Virginia Tech Shootings are all over the news today. Really bad. Here’s a summary by the Herald Tribune. Just a few moments ago, I saw a report on the BBC highlighting that there had been a ‘breakdown in communications’ between the University management and students. Not good, not good at all.
Communication in these crisis situations — the Uni has 25,000 students — is absolutely critical. Almost every single student and staffer on the campus will have had a mobile phone with them. I have been scanning the media to try and establish if the University had implemented and used a text notification service to help spread the word. I didn’t see any mention of any text updates. I strongly believe that a system such as this needs to be in place for any big institutions — from High Schools to office blocks to Universities — so that when disasters or issues happen, instructions can be quickly communicated simultaneously to large groups of people.
The technology didn’t exist for this 10 years ago. But it does now. I think it really should be utilised.
I dropped a note over to Bryan at Omnilert (they do this kind of thing for quite a lot of Universities in America) to ask if they’d supplied any services to Virginia Tech. I should have an answer soon.