College Gets Locked Down with Voice

Ouachita Baptist University (OBU) in Arkadelphia, Ark., used Singlewire Software's InformaCast mass messaging system recently to send a campus emergency notification to students, staff, and faculty, alerting them about an emergency situation threatening the campus.

The incident, which occurred on August 24 during class registration, involved a local armed robbery suspect who was eluding police and thought to be approaching campus. After police notified campus officials, the vice president for student services at OBU activated the emergency communications system, sending the campus into lockdown.

“Once [the vice president for student services] understood the situation at hand, he was able to send the alert from his computer,” remarks Rob Crockett, network administrator at OBU. “He was able to send an audible message with InformaCast, he was able to send text messaging, he was able to change our We bpage, and send email to all students, faculty, and staff.”

OBU currently only relies on InformaCast in emergency situations. The school has predefined scripts that can send out prerecorded emergency messages for events like tornadoes or a fire. “During the emergency the other day, we have a prerecorded one for a possible violent situation; that’s what was sent out. We then followed it up with ad-hoc messages to tell people that they need to go indoors. And we continued to remind people during the crisis that they need to stay indoors.”

The result was a successful and efficient emergency communication to the entire campus. “It worked very successfully,” says Crockett of the emergency notification system. “We were able to do a complete lockdown on our whole campus within about five minutes of initiating the alert to people.”

The InformaCast mass notification platform enables organizations to send a live, ad-hoc, or prerecorded, prewritten audio and/or text message to any number of on-network and off-network systems and devices, including IP phones, overhead paging systems, digital media displays, desktops, cell phones, social media sites, and more. When federated with InformaCast Director, it can be used as part of a regional notification system by public safety management agencies. It is typically deployed as part of an organization’s data and voice IT infrastructure.

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