The four pillars of campus security

A look at basic areas that need to be addressed as college students, faculty members head back to school

It’s now even possible, and advisable, to integrate security with building management systems. For example, if the fire alarm system detects a fire, the building automation system signals the heating, air conditioning and ventilating system to stop delivering fresh air to the area and pressurizes the path of egress, clearing it of smoke. The access control system will unlock doors along the route and train surveillance cameras on the fire to provide first responders with a live feed.

There are a couple of other security steps that have proven effective on college and university campuses as well. Easily recognizable emergency contact stations, placed at regular intervals across campus, provide an immediate visual and video connection to campus police. A police escort should be available to any student to help them safely navigate the campus day or night.

Creating a secure college and university campus is all about planning and preparedness, but it’s not a one-size-fits-all process. Starting with a risk assessment, the security team needs to create the policies and procedures that fit that campus. When it comes to security, there are no guarantees of total success, but by adhering to these proven best practices, it’s possible to tremendously improve a campus’ safety and security profile.

About the Author: Patrick V. Fiel, Sr. is an independent security consultant, having served as public safety advisor for a large national security integrator; executive director of security for the Washington, D.C. Public School System; and is retired from the U.S. Army Military Police Corps. He is currently working with education technology solutions Blackboard Inc. For more information, visit