Campuses Embrace Emergency Notification Systems for Improved Crisis Communications
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Campuses Embrace Emergency Notification Systems for Improved Crisis Communications Multi-modal alerts ensure 99% coverage of students whether or not they have signed up to receive alerts LEESBURG, Va., April 14 /PRNewswire/ -- Many colleges and universities across the country are turning to emergency notification systems as one answer to the increasingly complex issue of campus safety and crisis communications. The best emergency notification systems are those that broadcast alerts using multiple communication channels thereby increasing the chance intended recipients will get the message. "To illustrate the increase in campus adoption, over one million emergency alerts were sent in February alone," said Ara Bagdasarian, CEO of Omnilert, LLC. Students prefer to receive an alert on a cell phone as a text message, while a professor may need to hear an alert over the internal PA system. Staff members at home or the office may prefer to get a phone call, while visitors walking around campus need to either see an alert on a digital sign or hear an alert from a rooftop-mounted loudspeaker. Additionally, the e2Campus notification system has a feature called SEED that can automatically include every single school email address in the alert, so students can get the alert even if they have not signed up for text message alerts. For students who have not opted-in to the system, they may also see the alert on a digital sign or hear the alert over the loudspeaker or PA system. This is the power of a multi-modal emergency notification system -- alerts are delivered in the way the recipient needs to receive it. State and Federal Governments Respond In January of this year, the Louisiana State Purchasing Office issued a statewide contract that enables any state college or university to immediately purchase the e2Campus emergency notification service without the need for an RFP as was previously required. In Pennsylvania, the state legislature passed House Resolution No. 232 that urges colleges and universities in Pennsylvania to implement campus security alert systems in order to warn campus communities of impending danger. The Commonwealth of Virginia passed Senate Bill No. 538 that requires an emergency notification system at every public institution of higher education by January 1, 2009. Last week, Federal Communications Commission approved a plan to be implemented by 2010 for a new nationwide emergency text-message alert system. Recent Public Safety Emergencies Just two weeks ago, the e2Campus emergency notification system helped nab a wanted suspect at Millersville University in Pennsylvania. The university issued mass text messages to students that it was going into lockdown and to look out for a named suspect. Armed with this information, students spotted the wanted individual and called police with his exact location. See two stories about this emergency in Windows Media Video format at: http://www.e2campus.com/vid/080402-FOX_Lancaster.wmv and http://www.e2campus.com/vid/080401-FOX_Lancaster.wmv. Also two weeks ago, Eastern Washington University used e2Campus for a bomb threat in the campus library. Additionally, they have sent alerts for various weather-related closings. In February, Ferrum College in Virginia comforted students during an all-day lockdown via mass text messages. As students were sheltered in place, the college issued updates as news developed. See the whole story in Windows Media Video at: http://www.e2campus.com/vid/080226-ABC_Ferrum.wmv. In September of 2007, the College of Notre Dame of Maryland used multi-modal alerts to warn students of an intruder on campus and to shelter in place. See the full story in Windows Media Video at: http://www.e2campus.com/vid/0709-CBS_Baltimore.wmv. Florida A&M University has used the e2Campus system for bomb threats, loose pit bulls, hurricane advisories, and a nearby shooting. Penn State has used e2Campus for tornado warnings, road closures due to downed live power lines, and a handful of closures and delays due to snow storms. University of New Mexico used e2Campus the day after purchasing it for a chemical spill on campus. UNM only had the system for one day, yet were still able to alert 99% of the students by using SEED feature. Students who had signed up for alerts received news of the chemical spill as a text message on their phone and subsequently warned others around them. SUNY New Paltz has sent e2Campus notifications four times this winter for weather related closings. They also used it to alert campus officials to activate their Red Cross Shelter during a recent flood. SUNY New Paltz has 99% coverage of students, faculty and staff included in emergency alerts with the use of the SEED feature. 95% of freshmen have signed up for mobile phone alerts and the school has plans to insert the signup process into online class enrollment for even wider adoption of mobile alerts. About e2Campus Endorsed by Security On Campus Inc. and used by more than 500 campuses around the country, e2Campus is the Web-based emergency notification system that enables school officials to self-administer and send time-sensitive messages for a fraction of the cost and complexity of existing notification solutions. There is no traditional software to install, no hardware to buy and no additional phone lines needed. A school can set up a secure notification system in minutes to send routine, urgent or emergency notifications to their entire campus community or smaller groups, such as multiple campuses, residence halls, staff-only or sports news. e2Campus instantly and simultaneously sends multi-modal emergency alerts to a subscriber's mobile phone (via SMS text message), e-mail accounts, RSS reader, and handset phone (via voice message), plus all campus loudspeakers, digital signage, alert beacons, and relevant Web pages. To learn more, visit http://www.e2Campus.com. About Omnilert Omnilert, LLC is leading the way in multi-modal mass communications for sending time-sensitive information to large groups of people. The self-service, Web-based system enables a single person to communicate timely information to thousands of people anywhere, anytime, on any device. It is ideal for announcing school closings, game cancellations, weather warnings, terrorist alerts, and marketing promotions. The system is built around a reliable SMS text messaging system that sends content directly to a mobile phone, traditional phone, e-mail address, Web page, RSS reader, digital sign, alert beacon, or loudspeaker. Omnilert solutions are sold under the names e2Campus, Amerilert, RainedOut and through resellers. The privately held company is headquartered in Leesburg, Va., and at http://www.omnilert.com online. Available Topic Expert(s): For information on the listed expert(s), click appropriate link. Ara Bagdasarian, Co-Founder & President http://profnet.prnewswire.com/Subscriber/ExpertProfile.aspx?ei=74080 SOURCE Omnilert, LLC Bryan Crum of Omnilert, LLC, +1-800-936-3525, ext. 703, email@example.com
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