Single Button Solution Now Handles Emergency Notification at Univ. of North Carolina

The University cut its emergency response time from 15 minutes to five thanks to the new system.

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — The University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill has shaved 10 minutes off its emergency response time thanks to a simpler, single button approach.

The University previously used a 12-step process. It would take approximately 15 minutes for authorities to arrive at a scene, but now that response time is down to five minutes thanks to a button at the campus safety department’s dispatch center that sounds a siren with verbal information on the situation as well as about 65,000 E-Mails and 60,000 text messages, per a WNCN report. The emergency information is also sent out to its Web site and social media platforms.

“The wording was already predetermined. What we did was automate all of those various steps,” says Matthew Mauzy, UNC’s IT manager. “So, in the past, it took the admin logging into each individual tool, launching a message and then moving on to the next tool. Now, all of those steps are performed simultaneously and parallel without requiring individual logins to individual tools. It’s all automated.”

The emergency response system is called “Alert Carolina.”

Last summer, there was a breakdown in communication after two armed robberies occurred on campus. The report says that the sirens were activated but that follow-up notifications were not sent until 45 minutes later. The one-button approach fixes that.

“We feel in particular in scenarios like this, minutes and seconds count,” says Randy Young, media relations manager for the department of public safety.

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