Warnings will be disseminated for immediate threats to the campus community. In the initial stages of an emergency situation, the Dallas College Police Commander overseeing central or designee will, with the authority delegated to the position:
- Determine if a warning needs to be issued.
- Formulate a warning (using pre-scripted messages if available).
- Disseminate the warning.
When the EOC has been activated, it will normally determine who needs to be warned and how. The EOC will normally formulate the warning messages and public instructions. The EMC or designee in the activated EOC staff will execute the warnings by activating the warning system. The EOC may disseminate emergency public information directly to the media.
The systems described in this annex will be used to issue warnings and instructions to the public. To facilitate dissemination of warning and public instructions, a set of pre-scripted warning messages and public information messages suitable for use in likely emergency situations has been developed.
Dallas College Alerts
The college’s official emergency notification system is branded as the “Dallas College Alerts” system. This system is a framework of multiple products owned or contracted by the college to create a seamless, multi-modal, and segmented medium to reduce points of failure and deliver appropriate situational messages and is compliant with requirements of the Jeanne Clery Act 20 U.S.C. § 1092(f) as well as Texas Education Code § 51.218 – Emergency Alert System. Not all emergencies require whole-system activation and system delivery options include, but are not limited to:
- Text messaging
- Network Computers
- Digital Signage
- Social media
- Public Address Audio Broadcast
Text Message and Email Notification Function
Text messaging is a rapid means of notification for the college. Messages sent by this method are college-wide and may only be targeted to all employees, all students, or both. Text messages may be sent during immediate emergencies, for campus delays or closures, to relay critical information to the campus population, or during system tests. Text messaging and email notifications enrollment is automatic upon registration or employment unless the student, faculty, or staff opts out of system enrollment. External agencies, such as food service and bookstore staff, who are contract services operating on college property are offered external agency enrollment in order to receive messaging.
The email functionality of the “Dallas College Alerts” system is designed to be supplemental to the immediate notification of text messaging. Email may be used for supplementing immediate alerts, notification of upcoming system testing by other means, campus delays or closures, to relay critical information to the campus population, or during system tests. Notification by email may experience significant delays as large numbers of emails may take systems time to process and deliver.
Social Media Notification Function
Social media notifications are supplementary functions of the alert system. Utilizing social media messaging, the college may reach beyond the student and employee population to include guests on campus, the public, and the media. Notification by social media may be made for immediate alerts, notification of upcoming system testing, campus delays or closures, to relay critical information to the campus population, or during system tests.
Any outdoor warning systems in place on or near college facilities are outdoor sirens operated by the college, local city or county officials respective to their location.
Route Alerting & Door-to-Door Warning
The campus community may be warned by route alerting using vehicles equipped with sirens and public address systems. Route alerting may not work well in some areas, including remote areas where there is some distance from the road or for large buildings with few external windows. Response personnel going door-to-door may also deliver warnings. Both of these methods are effective in delivering warnings, but they are labor-intensive and time-consuming and may be infeasible for large areas. The route alerting method may be required for those with impairments of vision or hearing. Phone trees may be utilized to activate route and door-to-door warning from critical areas.
Warning Special Facilities and Populations
Special populations and facilities will be warned of emergency situations by available methods to include:
Visually-impaired: text-to-speech broadcast, route alerting, door-to-door notification.
Hearing-impaired: SMS text message, digital signage override, route alerting, door-to-door notification.
Non-English speaking: Route alerting, door-to-door notification.
Clery Compliance in Warning
The college will establish and maintain its emergency notification system in compliance with Texas Education Code Sec. 51.218 and the Jeanne Clery Act 20 U.S.C. § 1092(f).
Decisions for timely warning notifications of Clery defined crimes will be made by the Chief of Police by utilizing the Timely Warning Notice Determination form as directed by the college’s Department of Public Safety and Security SOPs.
Timely warnings for imminent threats to campus safety for all other situations will be made by Dallas College central dispatch. Notification method and scope may be determined by the following decision criteria:
- What is the hazard? (Building fire, tornado, hazardous materials incident)
- What is the impact to the college? (Minor, major, catastrophic)
- What is the potential for the situation to worsen?
- Is the situation under control?
Life Safety and Property Protection
- What is the potential for death?
- What is the potential for serious injury?
- What is the potential for minor injury?
- What is the potential for damage to property?
- What is the potential for disruption to normal course of business?
- How soon does the message need to go out? (Seconds, hours, days)
- Who needs to be warned? (Administration, faculty, staff, students, guests)
- How many people need to be warned? (Dozens, hundreds, thousands)
- What are the limitations of each system? (Limited audience, lengthy delivery time)
- How quickly can the messages be sent? (Immediately, minutes, hours)
The EMC has the responsibility for ensuring an adequately trained and tested operational capability as outlined in this annex.
All individuals or departments responsible for staffing a position during an emergency, operating within an ESF, or providing support to emergency operations, are responsible for cooperating and assisting the EMC by making staff available to participate to the fullest extent possible in testing, training, and exercise activities.