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Malfunctions in lockdown drill lead to reevaluation of security systems

Public Safety is looking into bettering the security systems on campus after they performed a 10-minute lockdown drill on March 22.

They discovered that the alert beacons, devices that alert students about emergencies, weren’t working and notifications about the lockdown didn’t get sent to every computer and phone.

“(…) the alert beacons that were recently installed at Young Hall and in the Dining Hall failed to activate,” said Kaz Trypuc, public safety supervisor. “The hardware was rigorously tested beforehand and so it looks to have been a problem in the software settings.”

Trypuc said Public Safety is unable to identity why it failed, but is having a meeting next week to discuss and improve on the problems.

“Still, we are leaps and bounds ahead of where we were a year ago, let alone where we were five or ten years ago,” Trypuc said.

He added that the security has improved over the years because a huge part of the system is now electronic based.

“Those buildings with [electronic control] were able to be locked down at the push of a button in about 30 seconds,” Trypuc said. “In a situation where every second counts, that’s huge.”

Public Safety sent out a report on Wednesday via email to the student body that stated that it took three minutes and 13 seconds to secure buildings, but nine percent of buildings couldn’t be secured and three percent of those areas were occupied.

The report also stated that some of that some areas were not secured due to people not getting the alert about the drill, doors that are made of glass, and doors needing keys to be locked.

Trypuc said that a survey was given out earlier to see how each area would be prepared for the drill.

“This drill confirmed much of what we already knew but it also helped us identify things we had missed,” Trypuc said. “And, of course, it allowed everyone to practice what, until then, had been purely theoretical.”

Public Safety was unable to test out the emergency phones, available for students to use, because there were a few problems installing them before the lockdown drill.

However, Trypuc said their biggest problem is alerting everyone when there is an emergency. He added that sending a text message to everyone on campus is Public Safety’s fastest way of alerting everyone, but it isn’t the most effective way.

“Given that many active shooter situations are over within minutes, alerting the campus as quickly as possible is critical,” Trypuc said. “So while we’re working hard to improve and expand our notification options, text messaging remains the fastest and the one we rely upon the most.”

Even though Public Safety was able to deliver 3,000 text messaged in 10 seconds, their report showed that 29 percent of students didn’t receive the text for the lockdown.

Students didn’t receive the text either because they didn’t have their phone number registered to get alerts from public safety or they have an old number registered in their student portal.

PLNU sophomore and fashion merchandising major Kate Bristol said the lockdown alerts from Public Safety were communicated well to the students.

“Even though I was in my room when I got the lockdown text, I knew to stay in my room,” Bristol said. “The lockdown alerts were communicated well and students knew that following the drill guidelines was the best option.”

Public Safety said students should update their student portal with their correct phone number if they didn’t receive a text about the last lockdown drill.

“Campus safety is everyone’s responsibility and we need everyone’s eyes and ears to identify suspicious activity on campus,” Public Safety wrote.


data provided by the Department of Public Safety


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Jake Henry

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