By Jeff Hipchen, Executive Vice President, RF Connect

Access to the latest technology is often a top priority for higher-education institutions, particularly as they seek to meet the needs and expectations demanded by new learning tools and programs used by each increasingly tech-savvy class of students.

But reliable wireless connectivity has become so much more than just meeting the increasing usage of apps or creating connected classrooms – it is a lifesaving measure in natural or man-made disaster scenarios.

In the instance of severe weather or fire, thousands of people may all be using their mobile devices to share information critical to local authorities. Accessing communications channels to coordinate First Responders – particularly inside campus buildings and other areas where RF signals can weaken, such as stairwells – as they work to provide life-saving services is just one scenario where dropped calls or poor signals can heighten confusion and complicate efforts for everyone.

Furthermore, a Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) study on active shooters found that 24 percent of incidents took place on education campuses, and most incidents were over within five minutes or less. Quick connection among on-site witnesses, local law enforcement and other First Responders is crucial for restoring safety and providing urgent medical care.

Here’s the good news: The ability to immediately communicate campus-wide alerts to students and faculty in the event of an emergency can be provided through an effective wireless system. A thoughtful and well-designed network can manage the bandwidth demanded by a large number of users, far more effectively than just a few campus-wide hotspots.

The right solution provider will take the time to truly understand the unique needs of each campus and create a network that will address not only daily technology usage needs, but even those they will hopefully never need.

After all, an effective and complete communication network isn’t a “nice to have” afterthought…it’s a critical requirement that any responsible institution should implement for the safety and security of its community.