Last Sunday night, Nov. 10, MidMichigan Medical Center – Gratiot in Alma was placed on lockdown. That evening, a woman arrived at the hospital with a gunshot wound. The authorities were immediately notified, and the hospital was to remain in lockdown until further notice. Fortunately, they determined that the wound was the result of an accident, but not before word got out and lead to feelings of unease in the Alma community.
Some Alma students caught wind of this incident before it had been entirely resolved and raised concerns that Alma college failed to notify the students of a potential threat to campus.
Alma College has an emergency notification system and campus security was aware of the incident. If they thought that it was a threat, they would have used the notification system.
“First of all, with matters like that—since we had a complaint—we always go out and confirm with local the local authorities,” said Toby Pickelmann, Security Manager at Alma College. As soon as Alma Security became aware of the incident, they contacted the police to determine if there was any potential danger to students on campus, and they were reassured that there was no danger.
“The [Alma Security] officer called 911 dispatch, and they said, “we can’t give you specifics of what’s going on, but there’s no danger to the college,” said Alan Gatlin, Alma College COO; Senior Vice President.
In the event of a verified emergency, Campus Security will issue a warning to all students, but the verification is an important step in the process. “One of our guidelines is to only the campus emergency system for emergencies,” said Gatlin.
They don’t want to cause panic if there is a false alarm. Additionally, they worry that sending too many emergency alerts could lead to students ignoring them. For the emergency system to be effective, “[students] need to act on the information when they get it,” said Gatlin.
Campus Security reminds students that in the case of an emergency to “call 911 first.” Afterward, they can contact security through their phone number: 989-463-7777. From a campus phone, simply dial 7777.
“Just call us. We’re here 24/7 365 days a year,” said Pickelmann.
The emergency notification system is an important safety measure for all students on campus, but it is only effective if everybody is registered for it. For most students, that happens automatically when they register for classes, but anyone who is concerned that they aren’t registered can simply go to https://webapps.alma.edu/campus-alerts/ to register. A link to this website was sent to all students’ school emails on Nov. 13.