1st2Know Means a Text Closer to Safety
September 22, 2017
Many students are not aware of the various platforms the police department of the State Center Community College District employs to communicate urgent information to students and faculty, including social media posts and text message alerts.
For the past few years, the district has used a service called 1st2Know, a text-based emergency alert system, which is free for students and faculty. The mass communication system allows police to issue instant alerts regarding campus emergencies, hazards and safety threats to anyone registered with the system.
Jose Flores, chief of the SCCCD Police Department, said the text-based system is just “one of the tools we use to keep our students informed.”
Flores stated that the system will be used in addition to the police department’s Facebook and Twitter pages, in order to provide more comprehensive information.
“We can send the text alert to quickly communicate with the students,” Flores said. “And they can check Twitter or Facebook for further information.”
The systems are already in place to provide the FCC community with current and accurate information. However, these programs and services are limited because of student’s lack of awareness that these services are available.
India Day, a sophomore, said she was not aware of the 1st2Know service, but expressed interest in signing up. Day also suggested that the availability of the service be displayed more frequently on campus.
“Where they hang posters up for events, they should have [signs] over there, because I know I look at that,” Day said, regarding the limited supply of information about the alert system.
Other students suggested promoting the service on the front page of the FCC website, in a very direct and straightforward manner.
“Everyone has to go on there for Canvas or their student email,” Scott Okutsu, a graphic design major at FCC, said. “Right when you open it up…I’d put it right there.”
The lack of awareness regarding the system has not deterred students from staying informed about campus activities, and many have sought information from alternative sources.
Sandra DeLeon, a freshman, said she too was not familiar with the 1st2Know service, but shared her primary source of campus news. “Fresno City [College] has social media,” DeLeon said. “I use Facebook mainly.”
While most students show a desire to stay informed about campus news and current events, the source of information varies from student to student. This decentralized nature news sources indicates many students have taken it upon themselves to decide where to find information.
Staying up-to-date on campus safety concerns is crucial students say, however, the method by which they do so is still very undecided. The 1st2Know alert system is a valuable resource for students, and a powerful tool for the SCCCD police, becoming more effective with each student that registers.
The 1st2Know system was last used on Sept. 15 to alert FCC students and faculty of a power outage on campus. Flores also said that the system is tested once a month to ensure it is functioning properly.
Because not all students are registered with the system, the SCCCD police does not rely solely on the 1st2Know service; they employ several alternative alert systems, including Voice over Internet Protocol, by which SCCCD police can use classroom telephones as an intercom system. Information regarding safety concerns can also be sent to student and faculty email, as well as posted on social media platforms.
Students and faculty are encouraged to register to receive emergency alerts and safety updates from the 1st2Know service by visiting WebAdvisor.
“The best thing you can do is be prepared and have a plan,” Flores said. “Imagine what you would do in that situation, so if it happens you are ready.”