MSU reviewing campus alert system

Posted at 7:17 PM, Nov 29, 2016
and last updated 2016-11-30 09:16:15-05

The attack at Ohio State University has Michigan State University police reviewing the campus-wide alert system it uses during emergencies.

On Tuesday, police sent a notice to students and staff reminding them what to do if there's an active shooter or attack on campus.

Matt Ulmer never silences the alert system on his phone, after the first day of class when one of his professors told them he wants to hear the alerts going off.

"He said in case of an emergency he wants all of our phones going off to actually say what's going on and to have us all be updated," Ulmer said.

From text, to email even desktop notifications Ulmer says he signed up for all the options on the alert system.

"You don't know if something bad is going on you know down the street and you could walk right into that, you should be updated and know to stay safe and know to be on the lookout for suspicious activity," he explained.

MSU police use the system to both warn students and let them know what to do in different emergencies. It's something they've used multiple times this year including when there was an ammonia spill at Munn Ice Arena and a gas leak at the power plant.

"We would let people know what's happening, what we expect them to do, and what they can do to help us as well," explain MSU Police Captain Penny Fisher, who works in the Support Services Division.

After Monday's attack at Ohio State, when 11 people were injured after a man drove a car onto a sidewalk and started attacking people with a butcher knife, MSU officers are looking at changes they can make to improve to their warning system.

"Being part of the Big 10 we know those individuals, we know the people that work there, we're aware of the planning they've done," Captain Fischer said. "When you have a situation like this you really want to go back and look at all of your procedures, you look at your messaging, you look at platforms you're using, how to reach the community better, how to educate them."

One of the things Fischer says her department is reviewing is the type of message they'd send out if there was an attack around campus, because she says the "run, hide, fight" alert Ohio State used might be the best policy.

The basics of that involve having an escape plan, hiding from the attackers view, and as a last resort, fighting.

"That's an option that you can save your own life, or someone around you by doing that. It's not the first option we would recommend, but it is an option," Fischer explained. "In this day and age we have to be prudent. All situations are different, we ask people to think about what their surroundings are, what's happening, what skills they have, what they feel comfortable in doing or not doing."

You don't have to be a student to sign up for MSU's alert system, anyone in the community can get on the notification list by clicking here.