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Emergency notification continues growth

University will install the public address system on all buildings eventually, Ruch said

Following the tragedies at Virginia Tech and Northern Illinois University, campuses across the country have been implementing new safety features to keep students safe, and Bradley is no exception.
A new Emergency Notification System has already been installed on several buildings around campus and will soon be installed on several more, Associate Provost of Information Resources and Technology Chuck Ruch said. The system is comprised of speakers on each building.
“The system will be able to reach anyone inside or outside the building,” he said. “The system is centralized so that a message can be sent out from one location to every building on campus with the system.”
This new method compliments the emergency text messaging system already in place, but has fewer shortcomings.
“When you need to be able to contact people, particularly those on campus, the single best solution for that is a public address system,” Ruch said. “The technology [for the new system] is simpler. Texting relies on people signing up and having their phones on at the time the message goes out. Texting is much cheaper but may not reach everyone.”
The speaker system is already installed in the Cullom-Davis Library, the Global Communications Center, Main West Parking Deck and Williams, Swords, Bradley and Olin Halls. University, Sisson and Burgess Halls, the Michel Student Center and the Markin Family Student Recreation Center should all be online by Oct. 31.
Eventually the system will be installed in and outside of all buildings on campus. Speakers were even installed on the ceiling of Ruch’s office.
“I don’t think that was entirely necessary,” he said.
Students said they think the new system will be helpful in keeping campus secure.
“The administration is trying the best they can to keep Bradley safe,” freshman mechanical engineering major Andrew Puhr said.
The messages the new system will be able to deliver include weather alerts, lock down alerts, shelter in place and evacuation.
Cost is not an obstacle in keeping campus and students safe, Vice President for Business Affairs Gary Anna said.
“We do not have a total cost [for the system],” he said. “We are currently spending hundreds of thousands of dollars to provide this communication tool.”
System tests are already underway, Ruch said.
“The tests will usually be in the morning between classes,” he said. “The point of these tests is to find where, if anywhere, you cannot hear the system. There will be, and already have been, multiple tests of the speakers.”
If the system works effectively, it will alert everyone on campus to an emergency.
“The driving force behind the system is enhancement of campus communications,” Anna said.
No matter the cost of the new system, the money will be well spent as long as it works correctly, freshman electrical engineering major Jacob Anderson said.
“Any amount of money spent is worth it, if it prevents tragedies and saves lives,” he said.
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