Stetson University tests new emergency alert system

IntelliGuard Systems solution deployed on university's campus

DELAND, FLA – June 2 – Stetson University announced today its plan to incorporate a new state-of-the-art emergency alert system into its campus safety program this fall. The system, designed by IntelliGuard Systems, LLC, provides simultaneous emergency notification to the campus population in a matter of seconds. Through advances in micro technology, the IntelliGuard System delivers emergency messages and instructions in less than 20 seconds through dedicated messaging devices, proving an integral asset to Stetson’s ability to distinguish itself among fellow universities.

"With dangerous events erupting on school campuses around the country, the number-one question we get from parents is how are we going to keep their son or daughter safe?" said Bill Penney, Associate Vice President of IT and Chief Information Officer for Stetson University. "It’s an extraordinarily important question that no one was asking 10 years ago. Like many universities, Stetson has a rich, academic tradition and great history, but we’re differentiating ourselves by making campus safety a priority."

A technology industry veteran, Penney had conducted an exhaustive search for a product that enabled emergency messaging direct to classrooms but found all options cost-prohibitive. "When faculty instructs students to turn off their cell phones during class, that left us with a real gap in our emergency communication system," he explained. Stetson currently employs an emergency alert system that utilizes SMS text messaging, which is dependent on cell phones being on and a system clear of network traffic to successfully reach the campus population in a timely manner. Stetson also employs reverse 911, which enables a 30-second voice message to be sent to all cell and internal phones, but the system is quite costly to operate and has not yet been utilized. Penney was very impressed that the IntelliGuard emergency messages were received simultaneously in all areas in less than 14 seconds of dispatch, and that the new system was not only one hundred percent dependable but absolutely affordable.

Elements of the IntelliGuard System tested at Stetson included the RAVENAlert Keychain, which emits a loud audible alert and vibration upon receipt of an emergency message, guiding students, faculty and staff out of harm’s way. Scattering across and within two to three miles of Stetson’s 175-acre campus, dozens of participants were provided a RAVENAlert Keychain, which weighs less than an ounce and is about two and a quarter inches long. Incoming students will be offered the opportunity to purchase this device. Stetson also tested the RAVENAlert Wall Unit, which mounted in all classrooms and critical locations, flashes a red light with audible alarm and a backlit text message that gets converted to speech. Unlike competing systems that require an extensive network of cables to be run inside the walls, the RAVENAlert™ Wall Unit requires only simple mounting, which will preserve the integrity of Stetson’s historic buildings once installed. The third component tested, the RAVENAlert Digital Sign, is for high-traffic public venues and will be positioned in Stetson’s library and cafeteria.

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