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U Texas San Antonio To Deploy Wireless Outdoor Emergency Notifications

The University of Texas at San Antonio has selected Cooper Notification's Wireless Audio Visual Emergency System (WAVES) Mass Notification System (MNS) for its outdoor campus emergency notification system. Through WAVES campus public safety departments can broadcast targeted voice alerts via "Giant Voice" to students, faculty, staff, and visitors.

The vendor will install four WAVES High Power Speaker Arrays (HPSAs), commonly known as "Giant Voice," on the school's 1604 Campus for exterior voice alerting, providing emergency notification to the campus, which has 24 buildings on 725 acres. In an emergency, the HPSAs will broadcast a siren alert, followed by a live or recorded voice message tailored to the situation. The system sends out the messages in real time and has the capability of alerting the entire campus or individual areas depending on the scope of the emergency.

"UTSA is building a rigorous, multi-layered and multifaceted notification system," said Donovan Agans, director of business continuity and emergency management for the university. "Because of the broadcast range of the 'Giant Voice,' the intelligibility of the messages and the intrusiveness of the system, it is the right choice for the 1604 Campus." The school hopes to have the system installed by September.

The system will be integrated into existing voice-alert fire alarms inside buildings and wirelessly activated from integrated base stations. As additional buildings are equipped with voice-alert fire alarms, they will also be integrated.

The campus will have remote access to WAVES through WAVES Web Connect, enabling regional control capability as well, permitting campus public safety people to view the status of the notification systems and trigger pre-recorded messages through an Internet connection off-campus or from anywhere other than the primary base station. The Web Connect function will also allow the school to communicate simultaneously to multiple campuses that have a WAVES MNS.

Research is underway to install an MNS on UTSA's two additional campuses.

To prepare the UTSA and surrounding communities for system testing, the university will work with apartment complexes, neighborhood associations, businesses, media outlets, the San Antonio Office of Emergency Management and other officials to provide information on the new system and an installation and testing timetable in the upcoming months.

UTSA has an enrollment of more than 28,500 students and 5,000 faculty and staff.

Cooper Notification has installations at George Mason University, James Madison University, and the University of California Santa Barbara, among others.

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a former senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal, Campus Technology and Spaces4Learning.

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