University of Arizona CERT (Campus Emergency Response Team): Training to Save Lives in a School’s Worst Emergency Response Nightmare

Melissa Vito, Senior Vice President for Student Affairs, Enrollment Management & Strategic Initiatives at the University of Arizona has a long history of innovating to meet the ever-changing digital learning and communications demands of the 43,000 students her operations serve. For her teams, making sure they’re effectively communicating with the student population can have life-and-death consequences.. This is a school that takes the health and well-being of their student population seriously.

A mission-critical group within the University of Arizona’s Student Affairs operation is the Campus Emergency Response Team. Melissa and CERT saw the storytelling power of the Narrasys Platform and the documentary instruction production capabilities of Narrasys and collaborated to produce a compelling and memorable training program on what to do if there’s an Active Shooter on campus.

The Tucson KVOA News Station covered the story of what the UA has proactively done to train their students on what is quite possibly the worst kind of emergency nightmare a university can  experience: KVOA Active Shooter Story.

Narrasys CEO, Jeff Larsen, directed this project by partnering with the UA Police Department and the School of Theatre, Film, and Television to create a real-world dramatization and filming of an active shooter on campus. Theater students role-played what faculty and students need to do to protect themselves and respond if something as traumatic as this unfolds on campus. The UA community was notified in advance that this was a film production so that students and faculty were not frightened about this being an actual emergency event on campus.

The films were scripted and evaluated every step of the way by CERT and university administrators to make sure the dramatization achieved the goals of illustrating what and what to do and what not to do in this kind of emergency. Narrasys, designed and authored the episodes in the Narrasys Player so that as the films unfold very clear and specific procedural and emergency response information was unfurling along the film timeline to instruct students on what to do.

 “The films were scripted and evaluated every step of the way by CERT and university administrators to make sure the dramatization achieved the goals of illustrating what to do and what not to do in this kind of emergency.”

This production typifies the retentive power of documentary instruction; storytelling meets training.

In this Active Shooter Episode, you can see the effectiveness of integrated media synchronized with the film in the Narrasys Player to provide critical information resources to take the right action. When these integrated media episodes are authored in Narrasys Producer, which University of Arizona licenses, you can create these training modules as open links and turn social media posting on. Students going through these training modules can help them go viral by posting them to any of their social media channels. The Narrasys Player can be launched from a UA website, blog, social media, their D2L Brightspace LMS, or emails.

Using the Narrasys Platform, UA’s Student Affairs Digital Learning, Office of Strategic Communications, and CERT groups can use Narrasys Producer to add new video and deep-media narratives to the Active Shooter training or build new trainings for other kinds of emergency response situations, such as natural disasters, medical crises, infectious disease outbreaks, etc.

Student Affairs at the University is not interested in the status quo when it comes to supporting their student population with information and training that can make all the difference to their health, well-being, and success. Through this partnership we are creating a state of the art, campus-wide, communications network for rapidly disseminating information.

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Kevin Johnson

Kevin Johnson

SVP of Partnerships and Business Development

Co-Founder, Evangelist. Kevin has been an ed-tech intrapreneur and entrepreneur for nearly 20 years. He helped found the first New Media group at Pearson, and was part of the executive team at eCollege when it went public, and a co-founder of In The Telling and Narrasys