Stetson U. Incorporates Emergency Alert System Into Campus Safety Program

DELAND, Fla.—Stetson University has announced its plan to incorporate a new state-of-the-art emergency alert system into its campus safety program this fall.

The system, designed by IntelliGuard Systems LLC, provides simultaneous emergency notification to the campus population in a matter of seconds, according to the company. Through advances in micro technology, the IntelliGuard System delivers emergency messages and instructions in less than 20 seconds through dedicated messaging devices, proving an integral asset to Stetson’s ability to distinguish itself among fellow universities.

“With dangerous events erupting on school campuses around the country, the number-one question we get from parents is how are we going to keep their son or daughter safe?” said Bill Penney, associate vice president of IT and chief information officer, Stetson University. “It’s an extraordinarily important question that no one was asking 10 years ago. Like many universities, Stetson has a rich, academic tradition and great history, but we’re differentiating ourselves by making campus safety a priority.”

A technology industry veteran, Penney had conducted an exhaustive search for a product that enabled emergency messaging direct to classrooms but found all options cost-prohibitive. “When faculty instructs students to turn off their cell phones during class, that left us with a real gap in our emergency communication system,” he explained.

Stetson currently employs an emergency alert system that utilizes SMS text messaging, which is dependent on cell phones being on and a system clear of network traffic to successfully reach the campus population in a timely manner. The university also employs reverse 911, which enables a 30-second voice message to be sent to all cell and internal phones, but the system is quite costly to operate and has not yet been utilized. Penney was very impressed that the IntelliGuard emergency messages were received simultaneously in all areas in less than 14 seconds of dispatch, and that the new system was not only one hundred percent dependable but absolutely affordable.

Elements of the IntelliGuard System tested at Stetson included the RAVENAlert Keychain, which emits a loud audible alert and vibration upon receipt of an emergency message, guiding students, faculty and staff out of harm’s way. Scattering across and within two to three miles of Stetson’s 175-acre campus, dozens of participants were provided a RAVENAlert Keychain, which weighs less than an ounce and is about two and a quarter inches long. Incoming students will be offered the opportunity to purchase this device. Stetson also tested the RAVENAlert Wall Unit, which mounted in all classrooms and critical locations, flashes a red light with audible alarm and a backlit text message that gets converted to speech. The third component tested, the RAVENAlert Digital Sign, is for high-traffic public venues and will be positioned in Stetson’s library and cafeteria.

J. Roy Pottle, Chairman & Chief Executive Officer of IntelliGuard Systems, LLC said, “Stetson University immediately understood the technical advantages of the IntelliGuard System and the speed with which they moved is a clear indication of their commitment to their students, faculty and staff alike”.

Dave Andersen, president and COO, also noted, “The team at Stetson was highly educated with respect to current technology and related emergency systems. They clearly understood the benefits and inherent limitations of these systems, allowing them to incorporate the IntelliGuard System into their existing processes to provide a more robust and comprehensive emergency notification system”.

IntelliGuard System operates on a dedicated FCC-licensed network that is not in the public domain, therefore limiting the incidence of delays, access, network overload, crashing or hacking that often plagues the digital technology that drives typical campus alert systems.

IntelliGuard June 2, 2010 press release


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