Changing Adapting and Being Flexible

Life is unexpected and even the most perfectly laid plans and strategies go awry no matter how hard you try to plan for all scenarios. Changing policies, adapting security solutions and being flexible are the best ways campus security professionals can continue to adhere to best practices and ensure the safety of those on their campuses.

In this month’s cover story, Scott Coleman, the Vice President and Co-Founder of Safe Kids, Inc., explains how campus security should be looked at in a holistic manner, but should also be flexible and open to adapting to meet emerging threats. As Coleman says, “Now more than ever, it’s vital to adhere to the best practices in our industry, but it’s just as important to adopt new methods that incorporate environmental and social-emotional considerations.”

Coleman’s example of adapting to emerging threats is a simple one that has recently become a problem since the Parkland, Fla. shooting last year. In the incident, the fire alarms were set off, sending students into the main hallways and also into the line of danger. Coleman suggests schools should be open to evolving their standard operating procedures when it comes to drills and also train their students to be more vigilant and aware of their surroundings and to not “blindly evacuate.”

April Musser, the Southeast Regional Practice Leader of fire protection engineering for Telgian Engineering and Consulting (TEC), focuses her article, “The Constantly Changing Landscape of Risk in Campus Environments” on how change is ever-present on a university or college campus. Quite literally, campuses are changing every day. Whether that is the people that are coming or going, the events hosted on campus or actual buildings undergoing construction to have new purposes, Musser points out that these ever-evolving campuses pose security risks.

Musser explains that change is, unfortunately, inevitable, but it is easier to handle if you are ready for it and understand how to assess the risks. In her article, she brings you four different examples of change that are common to higher education campuses and discusses the best course of action when it comes to keeping security tight. Musser asks the reader to consistently conduct risk assessments and adhere best practices to the evolution of the campus.

Our last article that focuses on flexibility comes from David Dunlap, the Co-Founder of StoneLock. Dunlap calls out the security of healthcare facilities and how they must adapt to the evolving risks presented day-to-day. Dunlap does a great job of identifying just how many different identities a hospital or medical facility holds, such as waiting rooms, surgery wings, medical research laboratories, cafeterias and gift shops all under one roof and each requiring a unique security plan.

The security team on campus must be flexible and respond with accuracy to an incident anywhere in the facility. This can be facilitated through unique access control systems (as Dunlap explains in his article), unique security policies and robust security staffing that is equipped for a variation of incidents.

As you can see, there are many articles in this issue that deal with change, adaption and flexibility on K-12, Higher Ed and healthcare campuses. If there is anything a campus security professional is wonderful at, it’s evolving to a changing landscape.

This article originally appeared in the March/April 2019 issue of Campus Security & Life Safety.