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Emergency preparedness a hot topic as fall quarter approaches

Emergency preparedness a hot topic as fall quarter approaches Listen to this article

In an email dated July 16th, Dr. Sheila Edwards Lange, President of Seattle Central addressed the dire need for an updated emergency management system here on campus. She cited the June 24th lock-down and at least two false fire alarms in the preceding months that left many with cause for concern.

A major issue outlined in her letter was the public address system used throughout campus during these emergencies and drills. “We have discovered that there are multiple issues with the public address (PA) systems on campus. The system in the Broadway Edison building cannot be heard from all locations, and it is not connected to PA systems between Broadway campus buildings” Dr. Lange wrote in her email. Effectively, public announcements made on the system are not heard in all the Broadway Edison building, and not at all in the SAM or MAC facilities.

Central’s regularly contracted security vending company, Guardian Security, will be running off-site tests of the upgraded PA system for the Broadway Edison and Broadway Performance Hall buildings. Guardian Security is a 2.5-star Yelp reviewed security company based in the Sodo neighborhood of Seattle. It is the school’s hope that the improvements will be installed by September 20th, before the fall quarter begins.

By mid September, a contract to extend PA services to the SAM and the MAC buildings should be in place. According to the administration, the new cables and hardware necessary to bring possibly life-saving announcements to those buildings should be installed and functioning by Thanksgiving.

Besides the public address system, the campus relies on an email-and phone-based message system called RAVE (https://www.getrave.com/login/seattlecolleges). While every new student and employee is automatically signed up for the program through their campus email, according to the letter sent by Dr. Lange “We are finding out that many people have not subscribed to the Seattle Colleges Alert (RAVE) email, text and voice system, or that their information in the system is missing or not current.” Relaying the likelihood that many students do not use their Seattle Central generated email as their main source for information and timely updates. There is an effort to both boost awareness of the RAVE program and increase the number of people that have access to relaying messages, in the hopes that emergency alerts go out quicker, and to the correct audience. 

The school has also been updating it’s floor monitor program as well. In describing their role, Public Information Officer, Roberto Bonaccorso says “they’ve always been part of emergency response, guiding people to safety, checking floors, and helping people with disabilities to safe refuge areas. We are just making sure that enough people are appointed and trained to be floor monitors.” The hope is to expand the number of floor monitors and ascertain if they have received the proper training, and to correct it if they have not. 

Mr. Bonaccorso assures that floor monitors have been established for the campus but they have not yet received the training outlined in Dr. Lange’s email. A schedule for that training was not known as of this article’s publishing date. As fall quarter draws near, security continues to be a top priority of the administration and a major concern for all faculty and staff.

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