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SHSU alert system keeps Kats safe

Staff Reporter

Published: Monday, February 4, 2013

Updated: Monday, February 4, 2013 23:02

Ashley Prchlik | The Houstonian

Ashley Prchlik | The Houstonian

Last week was an eventful one on campus. Between the threats received Friday Jan. 25 and the elevator fire in the Smith-Hudson business building, KatSafe has been keeping students up-to-date on possible dangerous situations on campus.

It is important for students and faculty to be aware of what is going on around Huntsville, especially if it is something that could be a serious problem. KatSafe is a very important and beneficial program the university has implemented to keep Sam Houston State University safe.

Without it we would not know the details of what is going on or how the situation is being taken care of. I am one to worry so I always feel better when I receive the updates on my phone letting me know the current information. KatSafe’s website says that most students receive the notifications through email, but they highly encourage that everyone use their phone number as well.

KatSafe uses various methods to reach students such as email, voice messages, text messages and even uses technology to reach the hearing impaired. Sam Houston also uses its Facebook and Twitter pages to keep students informed.

SHSU says many students "would not be notified via text message because they haven’t signed up." It is imperative that all students sign up for KatSafe notifications on their phone, because email is not checked as frequently as text messages. Communication is a two-way street. Students must pay attention in order to receive the full benefit of the school’s security system.

If a serious problem were to arise on campus or in the community it is extremely necessary for students and faculty to know the details. This way, if a student finds out important information about the issue they can report it to the police.

The KatSafe website also urges students to make sure their information is current. This information can be updated through Sam Web and it only takes a few simple steps.

The alert system is a great resource that Sam Houston has implemented and all universities should use a program like this. Students can report suspicious activity or anything that could possibly be dangerous helping everyone stay safe. Previous events that have happened on campus have allowed officials to detect the flaws and make the necessary changes so that the system is as efficient and successful as it can be.

After the Nerf gunman incident in 2010, where students were informed of a gun scare hours after the fact, new computer alert systems and 12 on-campus sirens were added to ensure students’ safety. Since these more recent events have occurred, more improvements will continue to be made.

With the recent shootings that have happened at schools all over the nation, a program like this could be key in helping prevent these situations in the future.

When threats were received Jan. 25, I felt relieved when I got the KatSafe texts explaining the progress of the investigation. I was not in Huntsville at the time, so it was nice to still be told what was going on and to know when everything had been cleared.

I encourage all students to make sure their information is updated in the university’s system or to sign up if you have not yet done so. It is an informational alert system and is perfect for the technology-driven world we live in - allowing important information to get around as fast as possible.

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