Mar 24, 2009

Emergency Alert System Launched

by Mandi Forth

 In light of the Virginia Tech (VT) tragedies, campuses across the country scrambled to install new security systems and implement stronger security measures. Jerry Falwell Sr. saw this as a great need for Liberty University, and shortly after the first VT shooting he had an outdoor siren system installed. However, the Liberty University Police Department (LUPD) continued to see a need for an indoor and off-campus alert system. Students, faculty and staff can go set up a free account with Codespear at liberty.smartmsg.com, using their Liberty username and password. So far 4,346 people have already registered their cell phone number and E-mail address to be notified by either or both of those means in case of an emergency, according to LUPD Chief Richard Hinkley.

“Our other alert system was a good start, but we needed something that would reach directly to each person on campus, and even those students, staff or faculty that might be off campus should an event occur,” Lieutenant David Doyle from LUPD, said.

Liberty’s new alert system is the Federal Signal Safety and Security Measures, or Codespear. Hinkley, announced the implementation of Codespear to students in convocation, telling them to watch for an E-mail with the Web site to register.

“The Federal Signal safety and security system enables us to reach out directly to students and staff in the event of a campus incident. The Federal Signal SmartMSG enhancement provides a comprehensive way to protect people—every day,” said Hinkley in a press release.

“I think it’s a good idea and effective since everyone carries a cell phone and it’s good to be able to know ahead of time if there is a delay or school is cancelled,” Melissa Rogers, a Graduate Student at Liberty, said.

Junior Blaine Hagler sees the potential that Codespear has, but feels that Liberty is a safe campus already, “because our rules prevent a lot of things from happening.”

Many students have not felt that Liberty is an unsafe campus before, but are grateful that the school is continuing to take security measures to keep the university that way.

“I’ve never felt particularly unsafe on campus,” Rogers said.

“I feel safer and I like all the options that are available with the new alert system. The sirens were good but you couldn’t always hear them, so its better to have the alerts right (in) our hands where we can see it immediately,” junior Elaine Gordon said.

To register or for more information, go to liberty.smartmsg.com.

Contact Mandi Forth
at ajforth@liberty.edu.

 


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