MU to incorporate new emergency alert system in fall semester

Monday, July 22, 2013 | 6:00 a.m. CDT; updated 4:00 p.m. CDT, Tuesday, July 23, 2013

COLUMBIA — MU will install a new emergency alert system throughout buildings on campus to better inform students, faculty and staff during an emergency, said Karlan Seville, MU Campus Facilities communications manager.

Two hundred twenty-five of the emergency mass notification alert beacons will be placed in classroom and administration buildings in high-traffic areas where people are likely to congregate, Seville said. Each beacon will be equipped with a siren, strobe light, a screen where the warning can be displayed and a speaker, which will allow for an audible alert.

The new system will be utilized during weather or other types of critical emergencies on campus that would require an MU Alert.

Seville said she is hopeful that the new alerts will keep people from going outside during severe weather and will instead encourage individuals to take shelter. However, the alert beacons will not replace other means of emergency notifications.

“This is in addition to the text message and email alerts,” Seville said. “It’s just one more tool to let people know that there’s an emergency.”

The alert system will also be connected to university computers on campus.

"If it says a tornado has been spotted in Boone County and to please take shelter, that would flash on your computer screen," Seville said.

MU is using a company called Alertus for the new system. According to its website, Alertus provides services for school campuses, military bases, government buildings and many other types of facilities. Washington University in St. Louis uses the same system. 

MU Campus Facilities is currently conducting preliminary work while waiting for the beacons to arrive. The project is expected to be completed early in the fall semester.

Supervising editor is Hannah Wiese.

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