Baylor's Emergency Communication Adds Outdoor Public Address Speakers

News Photo 4499
June 20, 2008

by Frank Raczkiewicz

Adding to its already extensive approach to emergency notification, Baylor University has installed loudspeakers in nine strategic outdoor locations on and off campus to instantly alert students, faculty and staff of possible dangerous situations.

The loudspeaker arrays, which consist of four to six speakers, are rooftop mounted systems that are not readily seen from the ground, although one array will be mounted on a 50 foot pole. The entire Baylor campus will be able to hear the sound of an emergency message from the speakers, which are capable of projecting sound of about 80 decibels at 3,000 feet away. Speaker systems also are mounted around the Floyd Casey Stadium complex.

"We all recognize the essential role that immediate communication plays in keeping the campus safe in times of emergency," said Baylor President John M. Lilley. "We have learned that it is important to have multiple systems in place that can activate simultaneously when we need to ensure timely and comprehensive communication with students, faculty and staff. This is another important communications device for us to employ in the event that we need to inform the Baylor community of an emergency."

The new loudspeaker system will augment Baylor's Connect-ED emergency notification service, which uses phone calls, e-mail and text messages to reach all students, faculty and staff with information and updates during unforeseen events or emergencies. These multi-modal capabilities coupled with the new loudspeaker system allows Baylor to keep students, faculty and staff informed whether they are in their residence hall, off-campus home, sitting in front of their computers or on their way to class.

"The loudspeaker system will be used only when an immediate emergency message needs to be communicated to the campus," said Warren Ricks, assistant vice president and chief risk management officer at Baylor. "The emergency message is sent out in real time as the other forms of emergency communications may have delays due to the technology."

The loudspeaker system is able to broadcast safety sirens, and live and recorded voice messages.

The Connect-ED emergency notification service enables campus leaders to schedule, send and track personalized voice messages to up to six phone numbers per person, and immediately sends messages via four different modes of communication:

• Voice messages to home, work and cell phones

• Text messages to cell phones, PDAs and other text-based devices

• Written messages to e-mail accounts

• Messages to TTY/TDD receiving devices for the hearing impaired

For more information, contact Warren Ricks at (254) 710-6255.

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