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A Valuable Lesson From The Ohio State University Attack

| December 1, 2016 | By

Holly Zachariah, Kimball Perry & Jim Woods write in a recent article in The Columbus Dispatch, “The alarm rang, sending the students and staff members of the engineering buildings and labs streaming into the courtyard and onto the sidewalks of Ohio State University’s (OSU) north campus to what was supposed to be their safe place.”

The article entitled “Ohio State: Campus pulls together; attacker’s neighbors shocked” continues that, “As hundreds of students and faculty and staff members hung around West 19th Avenue and Watts Hall waiting for the all-clear, horror came calling on campus at 9:52 a.m., and it came by way of a man in a silver Honda.”

According to the article, “Police would later say the driver careened into that crowd intentionally, no question. Because the suspect — later identified as student Abdul Razak Ali Artan, a logistics-management major of Somali descent — had another weapon besides the car. He clutched a butcher knife.”

Student Armand Ghazi, 20-year-old material science engineering major from Cincinnati, and a witness to the crime explains during an interview, “He seemed like a crazed animal. He seemed like he was determined. He seemed like he was there for one reason — to do as much damage as he could.”

Although Artan was the only death that resulted from this incident, 11 stabbing victims were rushed to the hospital.

Ohio State’s Campus Alert System Warns Community

Is your property prepared for an attacker situation like this? Could you handle a property-wide emergency?

Boots on the ground can help eliminate the threat once identified and located. Active shooter training is also useful for this type of scenario.

But, what do you do to inform people on your property – or the community – of an attack?

OSU used their campus alert system to notify faculty, students, and the local community. It appeared to work well too.

According to Emanuella Grinberg, Shimon Prokupecz and Holly Yan’s CNN article entitled “Ohio State University: Attacker killed, 11 hospitalized after campus attack,” Ohio State President Dr. Michael V. Drake and many others, “credited the school's active shooter training and the campus alert system for helping the community maintain order while the scene was secured. Ohio State's Columbus campus is one of the largest in the United States, with 59,482 registered students attending classes on the sprawling urban campus.”

The article continues that “a campus alert reporting an active shooter incident” was issued throughout the campus.

Students barricaded themselves, awaiting news on the outcome of the situation.

Yes, an emergency alert system is useful for one-way communication. Thankfully, more victims were not seriously injured or killed.

But, what if this incident did escalate? What if it was worse than a man clutching a butcher knife? What if it were several attackers that took over the property?

How would your operation mitigate this scenario?

With the lockdown now lifted, we’re left to question: does a better solution exist for scenarios that require real-time communication?

Today, we can learn a valuable lesson from the OSU attack. You need real-time, two-way communication, to mitigate incidents as they occur.

Text communication is your solution.

Text Communication Empowers Everyone

Regardless of your type of property, you have guests to keep out of harm’s way.

In a scenario like OSU’s and ones that are worse, there’s an opportunity for everyone to contribute to the apprehension of suspects.

It can be achieved through text communication.

Guests can act whether they’re barricaded in a room or witness the suspect running through your parking garage.

When you implement text communication – and promote proper signage – you empower your guests to help the property keep everyone safe.

You’ll be surprised how efficient this makes your response teams.

  1. Someone sends a text message with vital information and location details of an active attacker: “Attacker on the run through Watts Hall. 19th and College.
  2. The color-coded visual representation of every message by status (new, pending, closed) lets your team respond to this high priority issue without delay.
  3. Track incoming messages that report sightings and encounters with an attacker. Know what’s going on and where the attacker is at all times. This ability helps emergency responders eliminate the threat as quickly as possible.

An alert system is critical during an emergency.

But, not every incident will exhibit the same way. The attacker may hide or run. You never know what will play out and you must be ready for all possibilities.

Text communication gives you the two-way upper hand every day.

Employ a system that offers two-way communication for maximum effectiveness.

Over to You

The Ohio State University’s attack incident provides a valuable lesson. Real-time two-way communication gives everyone on your property the ability to stop attackers in their tracks.

Implement text communication and help guests, help you.

Mitigate incidents as they occur.

Download our free eBook about text communication software

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