The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Clocks, personnel here to keep TCC safe

By Karen Gavis and Kirsten Mahon
“This is a lockdown” blasted across intercoms during drills as TCC recently tightened safety measures districtwide.

To better prepare students, details outlining actions to take in an emergency are being posted around campuses, said SE police Lt. Chanissa Dietrich. The colorful fliers provide information containing procedures to evacuate, seek shelter or lockdown.

“We take an all-hazards approach,” director of emergency management Robie Robinson said. “It is an overlapping system of alerting technology that we use.”

TCC alerts its students, faculty and staff using the following methods: fire alarms, message clocks, myTCC alerts, digital signage and a forthcoming desktop alert.

SE student Lezlie Edwards and others hurried outdoors as news of a reported emergency blared and the building’s occupants were ordered to evacuate during a drill. After exiting at the south side of the campus, students and faculty waited across the road while police patrolled the area.

Many gathered in the designated safety zone. However, others seized an unexpected opportunity to leave.

“I thought this was a real emergency,” Edwards said.

SE student Lucy Nguyen said she liked that students had been pushed as far back as possible.

Afterward, a digital message clock in government associate professor Ehikioya Agboaye’s classroom flashed “All clear — resume normal activity.”

However, Edwards said the concluding message outside had not been quite as clear.

In the event of an actual emergency, students should look for someone wearing a safety vest or carrying a bullhorn for further instructions, said coordinator of emergency management Kirk Driver.

“And if you have any questions or concerns, certainly look for a TCC police officer,” he said.

While all TCC classrooms are not equipped with digital message clocks, “I can say with certainty that most classrooms do have them,” Driver said.

“They are both visual and audio systems that can provide safety messages during emergency situations,” said TCC director of strategic project development Margaret Lutton.

More than 1,200 clocks are installed in the district, and the clocks are one of the many emergency alert systems TCC uses to promote safety and security, Lutton said.

“This has been a five-year process to install these clocks, and we are working to get the clocks in all areas where 10 or more people congregate,” she said. “Although cost-effectiveness is important, we are more concerned with coverage, safety and the welfare of our students, staff, faculty and administration.”

Driver is working closely with staff to make sure instructors and administrators know what to do in the event of danger.

Emergency responders determine when it is safe to return to a building, and depending upon the situation, each campus then decides how to relay that information, Robinson said.

Because each campus is different, “There is not an absolute answer that would fit on every campus,” he said.

Beginning this fall, students, faculty and staff can manage how they receive emergency alerts from their cell phones via a new communication system that replaces the prior CampusCruiser alert system. The types of alerts include school cancellation because of weather, breaches of security alerts such as a lockdown, fire evacuations and advisories to take shelter when tornadoes or severe storms threaten.

Students are encouraged to update TCC profiles to ensure the contact information on file is current, Driver said. Those with a TCC email and a Colleague ID number can sign up for myTCC Alerts and select their preferred form of contact by visiting https://tccd.bbcportal.com.

The new system [myTCC Alerts] is much more robust, Driver said. It uses voice and text messaging, emails, TTY for hearing impaired as well as several foreign languages.

Although its official launch date has not been set, a desktop alert system is also in the works and is currently being tested.

“We are pleased with the results,” he said. “The desktop alert is a message window that will pop
See TCC Alerts, page 3

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