College to implement new emergency notification system in September

In September, Bates College will implement and begin testing a new emergency notification system that will send information and instructions simultaneously to the entire campus community through e-mail, cell phones and telephone landlines.

Using contact information from Bates’ secure central database, the Bates Emergency Notification System will use a secure, off-site service to store office, home and cell telephone numbers, Bates e-mail addresses, and other telephone numbers and electronic addresses provided by students, faculty and staff.

In an emergency, authorized college administrators would deliver a message via voice mail directly to on-campus telephones and to a designated primary telephone, such as a personal cell phone. Text messaging also will be an option. Simultaneously, an e-mail would go to electronic addresses placed on file.

The notification system, which employs a service called Connect-ED offered by Blackboard Connect, Inc., formerly The NTI Group, Inc. of Sherman Oaks, Calif., also will allow segmented messages to subsets of the entire community, such as Facility Services employees who are called early during snow emergencies. Connect-ED has been adopted by numerous colleges and universities, including Bowdoin, Hamilton, Princeton and Williams.

In mid-September, students, faculty and staff will be asked to review contact information and furnish additional information, such as personal cell phone numbers

After the information is obtained, the Bates Office of Security and Campus Safety will test the system to ensure that it will be able to reach as many students and employees as possible, as quickly as possible, should the need arise.

As a result of its continuing review of campus emergency planning, the Office of Security and Campus Safety also will be installing four sets of loudspeakers at strategic points on campus as an additional way to immediately inform people on campus in an emergency.

“We believe the new systems will greatly enhance the comprehensive emergency planning we already have in place, further ensuring the safety and well-being of our entire campus community,” said Tom Carey, director of the Office of Security and Campus Safety.

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