Millersville U Goes Beyond Sirens for Emergency Notification
- By Dian Schaffhauser
Millersville University in Millersville, PA recently implemented a new emergency notification system from Cooper Notification to expand its current practices that use a siren system.
"At Millersville, we put together a security team to assess our emergency notification needs," said the university's chief of police, Wayne Silcox. "Our internal team, including information technology, environmental health and safety, and the university police department, understood that we needed a multi-tiered notification system to get to where we are now--our goal of preparedness excellence."
Patrick Weidinger, director of safety and environment health, added that to gain "critical mass" in emergency announcements, the university couldn't rely on just a single form of notification. "It's best to use a combination of technologies," he said. "However, in an emergency, activating multiple communications systems can slow you down, not allowing you to focus on the actual emergency. We needed a system that allows you to use one simple-to-use interface to launch our different notification channels."
The institution was already using three of Cooper's WAVES High Power Speaker Arrays for broadcasting messages over wide outdoor areas. Now it will implement the company's Roam Secure Alert Network (RSAN), which will allow users to activate e-mail, text messaging, and outdoor "Giant Voice" speakers from the same interface.
Before the RSAN service was put in place, the university used the siren system to notify the campus community to check text messages, phone messages, or e-mail for additional information in the event of an emergency.
"Our MU Alert, powered by RSAN, allows more users and better administration tools," said Weidinger. "The new RSAN system uses priority communication lines, minimizing the chance for dropped or delayed text messages and emails reaching users."
Millersville U has about 8,300 students on a 250-acre campus with 86 buildings.
Dian Schaffhauser is a senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal and Campus Technology. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @schaffhauser.