The Evolution of Mass Notification at University of Otago
College Campuses around the world offer one of the most varied and challenging environments for a security professional. Their large, mobile, and relatively young population is often eager to enjoy and experience their newfound freedoms. The various types of buildings with often-significant open space between them, provide additional challenges. Whether the campuses are located in urban centers or smaller towns, emergency communication systems are a must.
The University of Otago in New Zealand has recently installed Talkaphone equipment, revamping the emergency communication systems and bringing peace of mind to their residents. The University has installed Talkaphone's ETP-400 Series Emergency Phones throughout the campus in a variety of wall mounts, including mass notification ready emergency phone towers. The University of Otago is using WEBS Contact to send audio broadcasts to various groups of paging units to alert campus population of an incident.
"In an emergency situation where immediate communications were necessary, a specific message could be broadcast such as telling people to stay in a building, or get out of a building, or to move to a particular area."
Andrew Ferguson, Deputy Proctor- University of Otago
When lost or needing assistance on the University of Otago campus, look for newly installed Emergency Phone towers with WEBS. The University selected Talkaphone Model WEBS-MT/R Towers with a Safety Blue light/strobe mounted on top of the tower from a variety of custom colors available.
Sixteen newly installed emergency phones are continuously lit, calling attention to the location of the tower and the phone. Once the emergency button is pushed, a rapidly flashing strobe light alerts everyone in the area that the phone has been activated.
The Emergency Phone towers made by Talkaphone allow the caller to simply push the button and speak directly to the Campus Watch office, which is manned 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The new phones are not only highly visible and easily accessible, but they also have the broadcasting capability.
The Wide-area Emergency Broadcast System, which is called WEBS, allows the system to instantly relay messages to intended recipients in case of a fire, civil defense emergencies or natural disasters. It can also be used for crowd control.
“In an emergency situation where immediate communications were necessary, a specific message could be broadcast such as telling people to stay in a building, or get out of a building, or to move to a particular area”, explained Deputy Proctor Andy Ferguson.
The University of Otago is the first installation of its kind in New Zealand. In the United States, the recent Clery Act amendment mandates educational institutions to implement Mass Notification systems. Emergency communication systems are also recommended on all university campuses in the U.S.