Macquarie Uni’s Campus-Wide Alert System
by Security Electronics and Networks | @Articles News | August 21, 2012, 7:00am AEST
The same cloud-based technology used by organisations like the US armed forces, the US Coast Guard, UCLA and the Pentagon will notify students and staff of emergencies via email and SMS notifications to any device they choose.
The emergency broadcast system, Alerts.mq.edu.au, can be used to warn staff in specific areas of a localised problem, or issue campus-wide announcements for more serious events. It can also be used to provide advice on what to do as a situation develops, with features allowing individuals to respond to messages if they need more help.
“This gives our university a front line emergency response reach like no other”, said John Durbridge, head of campus security. “People can respond to messages to let us know they are safe or tell us they need help. It means we get better information in real time so we know exactly what is happening and where to send our resources in an emergency.”
All Macquarie University email addresses are automatically entered into the system while SMS notification is optional for staff and students. Take-up of SMS notification is expected to be high, given the size of the campus and the convenience of the system.
“Our campus is a safe place and we hope we’ll never have to use this for the kinds of emergency we see on the news at overseas universities, but we have around two square kilometers of open space at our North Ryde campus,” says Durbridge.
“We don’t have to look overseas to see how recent weather events can cause an emergency, and this system means we can respond to something like that much faster than before.”