By: Stephanie Rosso
NIAGARA UNIVERSITY, N.Y. – On Tuesday, March 6, Niagara University held the final of two ‘Emergency Preparedness’ meetings for faculty and staff. The hour long meeting addressed fire safety on campus, specifically speaking about fire prevention and evacuation in compliance with fire and state codes.
The Emergency Preparedness seminars sparked questions on campus regarding furthering education and improving emergency preparedness for all potential circumstances, not just fire safety. One of the main concerns is for the safety of our students on campus, especially in lieu of recent campus shootings. In an interview, Niagara University’s Director of Campus Safety, John Barker, addressed concerns voiced by students.
In 1999, Niagara University administrators, staff and management personnel developed an Emergency Response Plan (ERP), which has become a large investment for the University. The plan is reviewed annually – at a minimum. The University strives to keep the ERP as up to date and current as possible to offer the most accurate information. Barker explained that three separate teams oversee the ERP: the Crisis policy Team, the Committee on Crisis Management and the Crisis Response Team, according to campus safety’s website.
Niagara University is one of a small handful of universities that have their ERP available online. Barker says Niagara University wanted to have the plans available for anybody to access the continual changes the university takes to improve safety. You can also find the ERP in classrooms across campus.
Niagara University sits in close proximity to many local police agencies: Lewiston Police department, Niagara County Sheriff’s Department, Town of Niagara Police Department, Niagara Falls Police Department and New York State Trooper Department. These are the main agencies seen on campus. Border Patrol and New York State Parks Police also are available should a situation occur.
Barker explained that should any emergency situation arise on Niagara University’s campus, a mass notification network is in place. Campus Safety is able to use this system to reach students on all areas of campus including both inside and outside of campus buildings and classrooms. The message will be sent from the Campus Safety office and can be broadcast throughout campus on building speakers, speaker phones in each classroom and speakers throughout campus grounds.
More information on Niagara University’s ERP can be found at Niagara.edu/safety. For more information or to voice concern you may have about safety procedures on campus, email John Barker at firstname.lastname@example.org or Safety@niagara.edu.