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When considering how best to deploy a mass notification system for its 250-acre academic campus, Millersville University, located in Millersville, Pa., determined that an integrated and multilayered notification system was needed. However, the team also recognized that, in an emergency, activating multiple communications systems could impede addressing the actual emergency. It was decided that the mass notification system should have a single interface to launch the different notification channels.
Millersville University already used the Cooper Notification WAVES for broadcasting messages over wide outdoor areas, so it switched its campus text message and emergency e-mail alert system to the company’s Roam Secure Alert Network (RSAN). University officials can now activate their e-mail, text messaging and outdoor “Giant Voice” speakers from one user interface.
The university’s RSAN system, known as MU Alert, uses priority communication lines, minimizing the chance for dropped or delayed text messages and e-mails reaching users. Millersville University’s 8,000 students, as well as parents, alumni and friends of the university, can sign up at no charge to MU Alert at the university’s Web site.
For outdoor notification, three WAVES high power speaker arrays and an integrated speaker unit provide exterior voice alerting. In an emergency, the speaker arrays broadcasts a siren alert, followed by a live or recorded voice message tailored to the situation. The intrusive system sends out the emergency messages in real time and has the capability of alerting the entire campus or individual areas depending on the scope of the emergency.
Individual building subgroups can also be targeted for messaging. This capability was tested during a recent active-shooter drill, where only one building was affected.