'Emergency Notification System’ to be implemented at N.B. campuses
In dozens of cities and towns across the Maritimes, technology is helping municipalities deliver vital information in the event of any type of emergency.
The ‘Emergency Response Notification System’ is quickly becoming a standard at university campuses.
“You have to find a way to tell people to steer clear and keep off campus,” says UNB’s security director Bruce Rogerson.
In a few weeks, anybody who wants to will be able to voluntarily sign up for emergency alerts via a new notification system for UNB, NBCC and STU.
“We can go through e-mail, phone, text messaging, Facebook and Twitter,” adds Rogerson.
It will be a first in New Brunswick but they are following the lead of schools in Nova Scotia. Dalhousie, Acadia and Cape Breton University which have similar programs in place.
Rogerson says an incident on the St. Thomas University Campus in the fall of 2013 proved why it was needed.
Police arrested a man after reports of a suspicious person on campus who may have had a gun. No weapon was found but there was confusion amongst students and faculty about what was happening and whether or not buildings were in lockdown.
It’s one example of when an alert would have been sent out. Rogerson says there have also been more wildlife sightings on campus which would also warrant an alert.
“Now you’ve got coyotes, so it could even get to that,” says Rogerson.
Some students seem indifferent about the new system.
“We already get e-mails about safety alerts on campus so I don’t need another alert,” says UNB student Emily McKim.
But others say they want that information to find them first.
“I definitely don’t check my e-mails that often so a text would be better,” says STU student Josee Thonas.
“I would actually get my family to sign up for it as well. Sometimes if you hear something that happened at school, sometimes your parents or grandparents don’t know what’s going on,” adds UNB student Allie Murchison.
Signing up for the alerts is free and the system itself costs about $10,000 to implement. Five years ago that cost was closer to $60,000.
With files from CTV Atlantic's Nick Moore