The Critical Nature of Incident Management in Education Industry

Feb 18, 2020

Parents and students set their sights on the quality of education or diversity of extracurriculars your university has to offer. If there’s one thing you don’t want them to worry about, it’s your university’s incident management abilities.

Incident management in education entails that you and your faculty know exactly what to do in the event of an emergency. This can include a natural emergency, like extreme snowfall, cyberattacks that threaten your online security, or an active shooter event that occurs on or near your campus. 

We all want to secure our campuses from criminal behavior, but unfortunately, we can’t control everything. In fact, the number of crimes reported on postsecondary education campuses went up by 3% from 2015.

Since you can’t prevent every emergency, you must focus your attention on incident management. Read on to find out more about keeping your campus safe. 

Is Incident Management Required?

The short answer is yes, incident management is required. In fact, it has been a requirement since the Clery Act was passed in 1990. From that moment on, it has continued to evolve to include more regulations that all federally-funded universities must comply with. 

Why the Clery Act Was Passed

In 1986, a woman named Jeanne Clery was murdered on the campus of Lehigh University. This was one of 38 violent crimes the university had recorded from 1984-1986. Her parents stated that they would not have allowed Clery to attend the university had those records been public. 


Each year by October 1st, universities must distribute a published copy of their Annual Campus Security Report to employees as well as current and prospective students. It must include all reported crimes from the past three years and policy statements regarding the campus’s security measures and preventative programs. 

Institutions must also keep detailed logs of crimes that have occurred on campus over the past eight years. These crimes include (but are not limited to) murder, sexual assault, arson, hate crimes, liquor law violations, and drug-related crimes. 

The Clery Act also requires universities to issue timely warnings to students and faculty regarding threats to safety. These are typically issued via text, email, or automated phone calls. 


If a university violates the Clery Act, they will be fined up to $57,317 per violation. For the safety of your students and staff as well as the prevention of costly fines, a university must be completely compliant with the Clery Act. 

Incident Management Solutions

There are several steps to take when coming up with your incident management policy. While it may seem overwhelming at first, note that Preparis’s incident management software can streamline all of your emergency preparedness needs. 

Implementing Emergency Notifications and Bi-Directional Messaging

In an emergency situation, a quick and proactive communication can provide a lifeline. Students and staff must be immediately notified of the incident and quick actions that should be taken. 

Always make sure that your emergency notification system is up and running. At the touch of a button, you should be able to send an alert to every student, employee, and, in some cases, parents. These notifications should include all available information from the time and location of the incident to a description of the perpetrator(s). 

Make it quick and easy to get in contact with your staff. Set up two-way emergency messages and save templates for mass emails. Initiate conference calls with your crisis team or other important staff members with the click of a button. You can even subscribe to FEMA alerts and send them out as needed.

Training for Faculty and Staff

If the threat is still active, your faculty and staff are the ones students will turn to for guidance and reassurance. 

Your employees need to know how to react properly in an emergency. You want your staff to achieve a quicker reaction time while avoiding human error that can escalate the danger of an emergency situation. Preparis offers interactive online training that is accessible for review at all times.  

Building Crisis Teams

In an emergency, stress and confusion can occur when multiple people attempt to take control. 

While you want all of your employees to react appropriately in an emergency, it is best to designate specific people to make certain judgment calls and initiate actions in a crisis.

Checking Your Plans

As the world and laws change, your emergency action plan becomes outdated. It can happen in a matter of months, which means that you should be reviewing and testing your plans regularly to make sure that they’re functional and compliant with the Clery Act and other relevant laws. 

Preparis offers tools that will help you build and test your plans to determine that they are not only Clery Act-compliant but also up to the standards of state and local laws. 

Organizing with Cloud-Based Storage

Whether you’re dealing with a full lockdown, a cyberattack, or inclement weather, you may run into situations where you lose internet access. For that reason, Preparis backs up all files related to your emergency action plan, including reports of previous crimes, to a cloud-based storage system that is accessible on and offline. 

Furthermore, you can control the level of access each of your employees has to your cloud-based storage system, making it easier to develop crisis teams. 

Choose the Right Incident Management Software

Your incident management plan is only as strong as your incident management software. Learn more about what Preparis can do for you and how to plan for all emergency situations. 

It’s not a question of if a critical situation will occur to a given business; it’s when it will happen. Business interruptions are increasingly common. Based on the industry data, 40% of companies have experienced a business interruption in the last five years.