BY JOE WEPPLER
One of the most important things is the feeling of safety. We like to feel protected, comfortable and secure. At Conestoga College, that responsibility falls to the members of Security Services.
“Our No. 1 goal is ensuring a safe and healthy campus for all its members,” said Kirsty Bradley-McMurtrie, the director of safety and security at Conestoga College’s Security Services.
The department provides many different services to students, faculty and staff such as the Walk Safe program, lost and found, video surveillance, first-aid and even safety plans.
“All of the safety plans are individualized and stay with the student or staff for their entire time at the campus or until such time that they tell us it’s no longer required,” she said.
The Walk Safe program provides escorts to staff, faculty, students and visitors at the Doon campus between the hours of 6:45 and 10:45 p.m., Monday to Thursday. These escorts will walk with students anywhere on college property and even to the residence or nearby homes.
Security also provides immediate emergency response in the case of lockdowns, fire alarms and weather emergencies.
Some of the security equipment at Conestoga includes cameras, alarms and panic buttons across the school. When you hit a panic button, a microphone is activated and a direct line is opened with Security Services.
One of the newer security features currently being installed at the college are beacons attached to a new alert system. At the rec centre, one such beacon has been installed so far and it will flash red in emergency situations and text will scroll across its screen in case you don’t hear the speakers or they don’t come across clearly.
“We also have the emergency messages scrolling across all the computer screens in the school, so if you’re in a lab or a classroom you’ll see it right away,” said Bradley-McMurtrie.
Those messages are tied to any and all emergencies, not just lockdowns, so fire and weather emergencies will also be displayed.
A college campus can be intimidating to first-year students who may have never been a part of such a large community, but Security Services staff prides themselves in their ability to provide a safe and secure learning environment.
“Even if you just have a simple question, don’t hesitate to come and talk to us,” said Bradley-McMurtrie. “We’re here to help not only with security items, but with directions or anything else. We’re here 24/7, so even if you’re at home or off-site, you can call here and we will provide you with help, no matter what time.”