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Towering Over Emergencies
Posted: Wednesday, June 09, 2010
Written By:  Jennifer O’Brien PMM’11
Contact:  Brian Kirschner
Contact Email:  b.kirschner@usp.edu
Contact Phone:  215.895.1186

Despite their resemblance to K-Mart's blue light specials, those new blue emergency towers springing up around campus are the latest in hi-tech safety and communication.

In conjunction with IT and Facilities, the Department of Public Safety (DPS) is in the process of upgrading the outside emergency call boxes as the next step in enhancing the schools emergency preparation.

The new state of the art ADA-compliant Emergency Phones and Wide-Area Emergency Broadcast System (WEBS) will provide highly visible towers and wall units, emergency communication, mass notification, and CCTV surveillance. But most importantly, it will ensure a higher quality of security and protection.

 “The new emergency call boxes answer three of the major concerns and questions we have with regard to public safety,” said Bernard Gollotti, chief security officer. “One concern is how do we provide more of a deterrent to crime on campus? One thing that criminals hate the most is being recognized, so this will help us deter crime a little bit more.”

Equipped with a blue light, 360º cameras, and the word “EMERGENCY” in yellow along the side, the Talk-A-Phone products are easily identifiable. With the easy to use one-touch activation button, students can access an emergency line or an information line. Pre-record messages can be sent out through the call box speakers to alert students of an emergency situation, or they can use the built-in microphone.

The massive, bright blue towers are made of stainless steel meaning they are more durable then the current version.

“I’ve seen one get hit by a car and the call box was still standing.” Gollotti said.

The old solar powered and two-way radio boxes were less reliable. The new boxes have a constant source of power, a dedicated phone line and network connectivity.
“The second part of the equation is providing a better emergency communication system for students during an emergency on campus.” stated Gollotti. “The third part was wrapping it all up in one package. The new system provides emergency phone communication, mass notification, and increases video surveillance of campus; you’ve got three things in one.”
Installation began in early May and will continue through June to enhance the safety and security of the campus community.
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