How UCF Used Its Security Cameras During Hurricane Irma

Before, during and after Hurricane Irma, the University of Central Florida used its fixed and drone security cameras to assess and document storm damage.

Security cameras are widely used by U.S. institutions of higher education. According to Campus Safety’s 2016 Video Surveillance Survey, more than nine out of 10 campuses have security cameras, and 82 percent of colleges and universities plan on purchasing new or more video surveillance systems in the next three years. Some campuses have even purchased drones equipped with cameras so they can view situations that might be inaccessible or too dangerous for an officer to promptly investigate in person.

But how many of those campuses also use their security cameras for emergency management? One institution — the University of Central Florida (UCF) — deploys their video surveillance system during hurricanes.

When Hurricane Irma struck the state of Florida in early September with wind speeds of 130 miles per hour, it inflicted significant damage to anything in its path. Fortunately, before that UCF used its fixed security cameras and drone cameras to document what the campus looked like before the storm hit.

Additionally, during the hurricane, UCF public safety personnel used the school’s fixed security cameras to identify areas that were in the process of being damaged. After the storm passed, fixed and drone cameras were again used to further document the destruction caused by Hurricane Irma.

All of this evidence is now being submitted to FEMA so that UCF can be reimbursed for damages sustained during the storm.

To explain how UCF achieved this, Campus Safety spoke with UCF Assistant Director of Security Joe Souza. Watch this video to hear Souza’s comments


About the Author

Robin Hattersley Gray

Robin has been covering the security and campus law enforcement industries since 1998 and is a specialist in school, university and hospital security, public safety and emergency management, as well as emerging technologies and systems integration. She joined CS in 2005 and has authored award-winning editorial on campus law enforcement and security funding, officer recruitment and retention, access control, IP video, network integration, event management, crime trends, the Clery Act, Title IX compliance, sexual assault, dating abuse, emergency communications, incident management software and more. Robin has been featured on national and local media outlets and was formerly associate editor for the trade publication Security Sales & Integration. She obtained her undergraduate degree in history from California State University, Long Beach.

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