A recent survey of school administrators and IT directors revealed a lack of awareness of the need for enhanced 911 (E911) systems in schools. In the survey of 100 K-12 and university administrators and IT directors, 40 respondents said their school is currently using an E911 system. Such a system allows dispatchers to trace the exact location of a call to direct emergency responders to a person in need. 

Eighty-three respondents reported that safety was important to them and yet 27 selected the answer “My organization doesn’t have a need at this time.” Forty-five respondents said they were unaware of a solution. Of the one-third of respondents who reported being aware of the liability schools face for not having an enhanced 911 system in place, 70 percent were at least somewhat concerned. Just 22 respondents reported that they had done something to limit the liability their organization might face due to the E911 capabilities of their telephone system. Of those who hadn’t taken any action, 57 percent were not sure what to do.

“Whether or not people use 911 could be a function of how they answered or saw the question,” said Andre Le Duc, emergency management coordinator for the University of Oregon. “But a lot of campuses, when they think about a comprehensive emergency management communication protocol, they’re thinking to the Clery Act and they’re thinking to the new standards around text notification. Those are the things that they own and directly manage and would be in their plan, whereas 911 is an external party that all campuses are generally partners with but don’t have ownership of.”

Go to Emergency Management to read more about the E911 survey.