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ForeWarn important, cheap way to offer safety

Bradley has made student safety a priority by using the ForeWarn messaging system.
Kath Conver, senior director of public relations, said text messages will continue to be used in addition to other resources.
“Text messaging is only one form that was identified,” she said. “The most effective method is the public address system being added to the fire alarm system. We have procedures in place to use text messaging, public address announcements, web messages, e-mail and the telephone hotline to disseminate emergency information.”

Conver also said the system will be tested periodically to ensure that it works properly and if it can be improved.
However, junior elementary education major Melissa Mayberry said she thinks frequent tests aren’t always necessary.
“Last year, we used to get them during breaks when most people weren’t on campus,” she said. “I thought it was kind of stupid to get the texts when I wasn’t around and it was kind of a waste of my money to get them. Sometimes all the tests weren’t necessary.”
But Conver said she thinks every bit is necessary.
“The safety and security of our campus is of utmost importance and something we take very seriously at Bradley,” she said. “After the Virginia Tech event we began looking for improved ways to contact students, faculty and staff in the event of an emergency.”
Even though Mayberry said she thinks tests should be cut down, she said she still agrees the messaging system is a good idea.
“It’s a good way to mass communicate with the student body at large,” she said. “Everybody has texting and it’s more immediate than any other system.”
However, the system is not always immediate for Mayberry, because her service provider is AT&T.
“There are a lot of buildings on campus where I don’t get service,” she said. “I have a lot of classes in Bradley Hall and Westlake where I won’t get service, and when I lived in the dorms I wouldn’t either.”
But Conver said she hasn’t received a lot of complaints from AT&T customers.
“Within 20 seconds of sending a text message we can confirm that about 83 percent of the messages have been delivered to the handset,” she said. “At last measurement about 5 percent fail.”
Conver also said she counts on students being in groups when ForeWarn messages are sent out.
“A student does not have to specifically receive the text message to become aware of an emergency message,” Conver said. “If a group of students are together, in a class for instance, only one person needs to receive the message for everyone to know about it. And, the university has a policy that at least one cell phone must remain on in each classroom for that reason.”
Mayberry said she agreed with Conver’s reasoning.
“I don’t worry about it too much because I figure I’ll be with friends or in class,” she said. “I usually get the texts 10 to 15 minutes after my friends. It’s not that big of a deal, but those 10 or 15 minutes could mean my life.”