EDUCATION

USU tests locking down campus with just a push of a button

May 12, 2022, 6:00 PM | Updated: 7:57 pm

LAYTON, Utah — Utah State University tested its ability to respond to an active shooter on campus with the push of a button this week.

It’s a new technology that can lock down the campus from a remote location.

The school ran a test drill to see if the system was ready.  Not everything went as planned but organizers were fine with that. The point of all this is to make sure that when the worst happens those safety measures will work as intended.

It’s an expansion of what’s been in place for several years.

“It was heavily used during the pandemic to alert our population of on-campus clinics, for example,” Ellis Bruch, director of emergency management at USU said. What started with three buttons back in 2018 is now six with the latest handling a campus lockdown.

“The primary purpose though is those major incidents where an active shooter may require us to activate our emergency alert system or any kind of natural disaster, these are all situations that we would use the alerting system,” Bruch said.

As part of the test run, security checked on doors across campus and as it turned out, not all of them were locked.

Bruch said, “If you can’t identify any gaps then you’re probably not exercising correctly. We did identify some gaps, but overall our alerting system was very successful.”

Otherwise, he said it worked but that announcement wasn’t heard out on campus until the end. Summer students like Quinn Johnson said they barely noticed a thing.

“I was in class, got a text that it was happening and that was all that I noticed,” he said.

Bruch said that once these initial systems are up and running the school will expand future drills.

“To where we’ll exercise that higher level and exercise the processes and plans that require action by people,” he said.

The mobile alerts are not only for students and staff but parents and really anyone can sign up to get them.

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USU tests locking down campus with just a push of a button