AUSTIN (KXAN) - Authorities at the eight campuses that make up Austin Community College pride themselves on the ability to alert potentially thousands of students and staff if there is ever an incident like Tuesday's college shooting at Lone Star College in Houston.
For that, ACC has its own emergency alert system , similar to one used at the University of Texas and ot her Central Texas colleges. It's a combination of voice, text and email messages. But it's up to students to sign up for the smart phone alerts and to read the annual safety emails.
That's an ongoing issue according to one student government rep. In light of the Houston college shooting, Ryan Rafols plans to strategize with his student government colleagues at an upcoming meeting.
"Especially emails, nobody checks emails. I mean that's a big problem, we're trying to get students to check emails. I'm on most of the faculty councils and senate and stuff, but I'll definitely bring it up," he told KXAN.
Even Rafols admitted he has yet to sign up for the emergency text alerts on his phone, saying "it's just not one of those things you think about."
According to the ACC website, campus authorities last tested its emergency alert system in September when campus leaders staged an annual Emergency Preparedness Week. But students KXAN talked with Tuesday, say they had no clue ACC had its own alert system just a couple clicks away online.
"I'll probably go read the website. But as far as the alerts, I feel like other people in our class would get them and inform the rest of us," said Lisa Bird, a part-time freshman studying psychology.
Student Matthew Pawlikowski said, "I haven't heard anything about it. I didn't even know there was (an emergency alert system). He said if he wouldn't know what to do if there was an active shooter on campus. "I guess I'd run," he said.
That's one obvious tactic for students. But to avoid a glut of people trying to flee an endangered building, ACC has instituted a final safety buffer. Some ACC staff are trained to be members of campus emergency response teams. Wearing orange vests and hats, they are trained to be able to lead students to marked rally points outside, or to safe or green zones in campus buildings.
Citing safety protocol, ACC communications staff would not elaborate on campus safety plans or police training, beyond what is posted at this weblink .
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