Better safety measures needed

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  • Better safety measures needed

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Better safety measures needed

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Issue Date:Wednesday April 18, 2007
Section: Editorial Section

There are still many questions left for the Blacksburg, Va., community as police and federal agents continue to investigate the gunman's trail.

But there is one startling fact we are all aware of: Students and the rest of the university's community were not notified of the first shooting until nearly two hours later. And when they were notified, many did not take the message seriously until, in many cases, they saw bloodshed for themselves.

It's hard not to think about how West Virginia University and others across the country would respond if a similar situation took place on their campuses.

As explained in a news story in today's Daily Athenaeum, WVU officials say they do have an emergency plan in place.

But does it need to be modified to be made more efficient?

In a much less dire situation, WVU administrators took several hours to cancel classes when roads were too icy to drive on during a snowstorm last March.

When Virginia Tech officials did notify the campus of the shootings, the message was mass delivered through an e-mail. Many VT students wondered aloud to the media if the tragedy could have only been an incident if they were notified earlier.

And what if e-mails simply can't be read when the power shuts off or students and faculty don't check their accounts?

We're glad to hear University officials are looking into campus-wide text messaging and messaging centers that are visible to traffic. Innovative measures such as these are some of the best ways to reach everybody at once nowadays. Still, in an emergency, cell phone network lines could become loaded, making messages hard to send. That's why universities, including WVU, need to work with local companies and networks to make plans for mass communication during security threats.

Of course, nothing can change Monday's monstrosity. But if communities and administrators work together now, they may be able to prevent another tragedy.

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Originial Source: The Daily Athenaeum
<a href="http://www.da.wvu.edu/show_article.php?&story_id=27573">http://www.da.wvu.edu/show_article.php?&story_id=27573</a>

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Editorial Staff

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2008-02-18

Contributor

Kacey Beddoes

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Leann Ray <Leann.Ray@mail.wvu.edu>

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eng

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Editorial Staff, "Better safety measures needed," in The April 16 Archive, Item #1694, http://www.april16archive.org/items/show/1694 (accessed October 31, 2014).