Baylor Uses Multiple Communications Systems to Alert Campus During Emergencies
by Cerenity Austin, student newswriter, Baylor University Media and Public Relations
WACO, Texas (Sept. 20, 2019) — If a significant emergency or threat occurs on or near campus, Baylor University’s Department of Public Safety and its emergency management team use multi-tiered Baylor Alert systems – from outdoor and indoor loudspeakers to text and email messages – to communicate emergency information and procedures to the campus community.
These emergency communications systems include:
- Outdoor Notification System (Main Campus Only)
- Indoor Notification System (Main Campus Only)
- Baylor Alert Email notification to Baylor email account (from firstname.lastname@example.org)
- Baylor Alert Text message to cell phone (Note that sender short codes include 226787, 67283, 78015 and 81437)
- Baylor Alert Audio message to a cell phone or other telephone
- Designated Baylor website
- @BaylorAlert on Twitter
- Baylor Information Line 254-710-4411
These emergency communication systems are used to share important information and instructions for students, faculty, staff and visitors for all types of hazards, from severe weather to other dangerous situations.
“As part of Baylor Alert, we have both an outdoor notification system and an indoor notification system on top of the text and email system,” Nunez said. “Any emergency message that we distribute using any of these systems provides clear instructions as to what incident it is and the next steps to take. These tie into situational awareness. Anyone on campus, even visitors, need to be aware of what to do in case of an emergency.”
Nunez joined the Baylor DPS team in June, after serving as director of health and emergency management services at George Washington University in Washington, D.C. He has more than two decades of experience in emergency management and works diligently alongside Baylor DPS to effectively communicate in emergencies. He is an active member of the International Association of Emergency Managers and a founding member of IAEM’s Universities and Colleges Caucus that focuses on emergency management in higher education.
All initial emergency notifications from Baylor Alert will provide a brief description of the emergency type. When additional information is available, Baylor DPS will share further instructions, such as “seek secure shelter immediately” or shelter-in-place.
“Shelter-in-place alerts can be issued in dangerous situations or weather-related events,” said Mark G. Childers, associate vice president of Public Safety and Security at Baylor. “It can keep you out of an unsafe and potentially dangerous situation and leaves public areas clear for law enforcement activity.”
Childers said shelter-in-place simply means:
- Stay where you are if you are indoors or to quickly seek shelter if you are outside.
- If you are indoors, stay away from doors and windows, and lock your door if possible.
- Make sure you have a smartphone to access additional notifications that may be issued via text, email and social media.
- During an emergency, BUDPS also may activate indoor and outdoor loudspeakers to provide additional instructions.
- Most importantly, when you receive a shelter-in-place alert, please comply.
Students, faculty and staff are opted in to receive Baylor Alert emergency notifications, however, it is important for the campus community to ensure that all of their emergency contact information is up to date in BearWeb. Visitors to campus also can register at www.baylor.edu/emergency to receive Baylor Alerts while on campus.
“If you see campus visitors or others who appear to be unaware that a shelter-in-place advisement has been issued, please share the information, if you can safely do so, while you move to shelter-in-place,” Childers said.
Additionally, a Baylor Timely Warning or Baylor Safety Warning may be issued using the same process used for Baylor Alerts.
- A Baylor Timely Warning is notification of a Clery crime(s) that has/have already occurred and are considered by the institution to represent a serious or continuing threat to students and employees.
- A Baylor Safety Notification may be issued when an incident or crime has occurred and may affect members of the campus community, but an emergency notification or timely warning is not required.
Baylor DPS and its emergency management team works tirelessly to update its security and communication methods. National Preparedness Month, the “Sic ‘em for Safety” campaign and programs held by DPS continually promote the awareness of the safety initiatives Baylor is taking and is indicative of the model for safety in the future.
“One of the things about emergency management at Baylor is that there is a very strong foundation,” Nunez said. “I have a privilege to carry on that work whether it’s on emergency communications like Baylor Alert, the text and email notification system, or through the programming that we host on campus including the Sic ‘em for Safety campaign during September’s National Preparedness Month.”
“The Baylor community demands excellence,” Childers said. “We’re always pushing to be the gold standard of higher education law enforcement.”
Additional information about emergency preparedness at Baylor is available at www.baylor.edu/emergency.
ABOUT BAYLOR DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC SAFETY
The Baylor University Department of Public Safety serves as an umbrella department for the Baylor University Police Department, emergency management, fire safety, global safety and security, technical security and parking and transportation. The DPS is set on providing students, faculty and alumni with excellent security and safety through instant notification systems, extensive surveillance cameras and highly-trained staff.
ABOUT BAYLOR UNIVERSITY
Baylor University is a private Christian University and a nationally ranked research institution. The University provides a vibrant campus community for more than 17,000 students by blending interdisciplinary research with an international reputation for educational excellence and a faculty commitment to teaching and scholarship. Chartered in 1845 by the Republic of Texas through the efforts of Baptist pioneers, Baylor is the oldest continually operating University in Texas. Located in Waco, Baylor welcomes students from all 50 states and more than 90 countries to study a broad range of degrees among its 12 nationally recognized academic divisions.