UCSB has installed the first of five campus communication speakers on the roof of Kerr Hall, designed to alert students and staff in the event of an emergency. The speakers have a range of 2,400 feet, and are tentatively planned to be located at the Recreation Center, Kohn Hall, Santa Rosa Hall, and the Faculty Club within the next 12 months.
This safety measure adds to existing text and email systems, and will be controlled at the dispatch center in the UCSB Police Department. “Police department dispatchers will use a telephone to speak directly into the system speakers,” Associate Vice Chancellor Ron Cortez said in a press release. “They will also have 12 prerecorded messages they can use, depending on the emergency.”
He added, “One of the keys to our success in handling any type of emergency is redundancy of communication. It can’t be just one type of communication to notify the campus in the event of an emergency. Any time we’re using technology, one of the systems might fail, so we need to have different ways to reach people on campus.”
Tom Bauer, public safety director of Westmont College, where a text and email system is employed, said that nothing similar is planned for the college, but that “every campus has different needs.” A representative with SBCC said the school also operates an emergency text system called Alert U, and acknowledged that speakers could be a good idea but that there were other issues at play, like the funding and logistics involved.