SAFETY FIRST: (From left) Dave Hochendoner, chief technology officer for Metis Secure Solutions, teaches Robert Davis, a Slippery Rock University Police officer, how to use the Metis emergency alert system. The interactive, multi-functional system has been installed in every academic building.Metis emergency callbox system
SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. - Parents, students, faculty and staff will have another reason to feel even safer at Slippery Rock University when the University's new Metis Secure Solutions emergency callbox security system goes active Aug. 1.
"It's another layer of safety for our campus," said Robert Downey, chief of University Police. "Unfortunately, over the past several years, there have been incidents around the country. We were able to implement a measure for responding very quickly to situations."
SRU's 18 police officers and dispatchers recently completed training for the technology, which has been installed and will be fully functional Aug. 1. Downey also explained the system to parents and new students during freshman orientation. Several parents said they were pleased with the University's proactive approach to safety.
"People like the concept, and several parents commented that it will make things safer for their students," Downey said.
The system features two-way "Call for Help" boxes in all the academic buildings. In an emergency, a user pushes a button to automatically send a call for help to University Police. The user leaves a 10-second message for police, who can instantly isolate the location of the call on a computer and send an officer to an exact location. The system uses three primary, independent data paths - FM-RBDS sub-carrier, wireless mesh network and wired Ethernet to communicate. When activated, the Metis Secure devices come alive with flashing multi-colored lights, siren, recorded human voice and text display, providing an information rich warning to the campus population.
"We expect the system to be used for medical emergencies," Downey said. "We may get something very serious, such as smoke in the building. "This will get us to a hazardous situation with a quicker response. In a dire situation, that could save a life or many lives."
"We are delighted to partner with Metis Secure Solution to take this important step in our ongoing commitment to campus safety," said Robert Smith, SRU president. "We take our efforts to notify the campus community of emergency situations very seriously. These state-of-the-art emergency alert devices will be another valuable tool in helping our students, faculty and staff to make life-saving decision during a crisis on campus."
SRU is the first public university to install the Metis Secure system, which was named the 2009 Technology Innovation of the Year by Campus Technology Magazine.
The University currently utilizes a combination of strategies applied early and simultaneously to alert the campus in case of an emergency. These include e-mail, the Web, voice-mail messages, person-to-person contacts, hard-copy bulletins and e2Campus. The e2Campus system allows the University to simultaneously send a message to thousands of relevant people via the method each recipient chose to receive it, such as a mobile phone (SMS text message), University e-mail account, RSS feed, wireless PDA, personalized Web pages from Google, My Yahoo and AOL, as well the SRU homepage.