Nearly five years after the deadly shootings at Virginia Tech in April 2007, colleges and universities across the nation face the continued challenge of assessing and mitigating threats posed by unexpected emergencies and natural disasters. In response to this ongoing need, the U.S. standardization community has stepped forward to help institutions of higher learning and other organizations make important strides in securing campus safety.

Approved as an American National Standard (ANS), ASME-ITI Risk Analysis 2010, A Risk Analysis Standard for Natural and Man-Made Hazards to Higher Education Institutions, lays out a risk management process to identify, analyze, and communicate risks on college and university campuses. The standard addresses threats to human life and well-being, as well as risks to facilities and infrastructure, and also encompasses potential operational hazards.

The standard was developed by ASME Innovative Technologies Institute (ASME-ITI), an ANSI member and accredited standards developer dedicated to advancing the quality and range of risk and resilience management.

The standard provides a platform for the exchange of best practices for safety and security among participating institutions. By using common definitions and methods to compare risk, resilience, and risk management benefits, decision-makers are better positioned to allocate limited resources and assess and mitigate risk.

Among its recommendations, ASME-ITI Risk Analysis 2010 describes how campus threat assessment teams can be put in place to help identify potential persons of concern and to analyze information regarding potential threats. Following the Virginia Tech incident, the Commonwealth of Virginia mandated that public institutions of higher learning establish such teams, with the state of Illinois going one step further to mandate that threat assessment teams be formed in both public and private institutions.