Adding Mass Notification to old, mixture of systems.

Alright, I’m frustrated. I’ve mentioned this before but I’ll say it again: I’m a full time student who works in FA over summers/winters. At my college campus, a good sized city campus, the “powers that be” have a mixture of literally any misc. type of system installed. Edwards, Notifier, Siemens, Gamewell FCI, etc… Some variant of it is probably here - some with speakers, some with horns.

Today, there was a situation on campus involving lots of police activity. Buildings were evacuated, fun stuff like that. How does this campus alert us? Text messages… Yup. Texts that we need to manually sign up for, we are not automatically enrolled. The lack of mass notification here is pretty scary for a south side city school. I want to at least suggest a solution with my concerns.

With a mixture of systems, old and new, different brands, horns and speakers, what could someone propose the school look into? They never spend money on facilities… Our facilities around campus are crap, though if student safety is involved they may look into it. Do you guys have some examples of mass notification that may be a little more cost effective?

Let me say too: Ideally all systems would be brought up to date, all moved to speaker/strobes, same brand and networked. Doubt that’s an option, but something I might consider mentioning.

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Geez…that’s it?! It’s even more shocking how these text messages are optional in the first place! You would think this basic level of communication would be mandatory for all students. I believe this was the case with my community college and university. Every so often, users were required to update their emergency contact information (including updating a number for mass texts) through school’s internal portal. Before a user can do anything within the portal (ex: register for classes, check grades, etc), the emergency contact information was required to be updated before the user could proceed. Making it mandatory to sign up for mass texts could ensure everyone is signed up for mass texts, but is only one part of the overall solution.

Another interesting mobile phone system that could be implemented is LiveSafe. My university had used this, and it seemed beneficial. In addition to being able to also send out a mass notification of a threat, this would allow for students to report suspicious activity, provide a map of emergency phones on campus, and even has a GPS where you can invite friends to track your location and vise versa (yeah, I know, some of this is unrelated to the mass-notification topic). Here is the link to the company’s website:

Of course, it is not guaranteed that everyone will be able to receive the notification on their phones (ex: during class where they are required to be off, dead batteries, etc). In addition to the lack of mass notification as part of the fire alarm systems in the buildings, I would also assume there aren’t any mass notification speakers in place at your campus? My previous university’s campus had several Whelen sirens mounted at various points throughout the campus, which were loud enough to be heard not only throughout the campus, but inside the different buildings as well (most of which do not yet have mass notification as part of building’s fire alarm system). At the very least, this would be one way to warn everyone of a potential threat to the campus, even people that are outside and cannot hear a building’s internal mass notification system. In short, it’s a much louder version of a public address system.

Aside from upgrading all of the fire alarm systems to be networked and be able to handle mass notification (which I also agree is the ultimate solution), I think any one of these solutions or a combination of the solutions I just listed would be a good start to improving campus safety.

Yours is the campus with the Advances in continuous, among other gems, right?

My first impression is that if they needed to evacuate whole buildings for whatever reason, they could just pull the standard fire alarm. That might not cut it in many situations where they might need people to take actions other than simply evacuating though, so I agree a voice evac/mass notification system is needed.

I’m personally partial to Notifier, and they’ve recently updated many of their product lines, including already having UL 268 7th edition-compliant smoke detectors. My suggestion would be that the college started with a plan to upgrade buildings one by one, at whatever pace their budget allows, with all of them done by the same company, and set up in such a way that they can be networked once all buildings are finally upgraded. And by the way, the alarm tone should consist of 3 rounds of 520Hz Temporal 3, followed by the relevant voice message.

Mine is the campus mentioned above, I’m not looking to have them network panels if it’s not necessary, but at least have other forms of mass communication throughout the campus. Leaning towards Alertus as it integrates with our current system.

As for the temporal 3, I’d normally agree but the continuous advances is actually code here… I wish I had an answer as to why… :confused:

Huh…I never thought of the Alertus system, I remember one of my community college had a system installed sometime after I had left.

Wouldn’t it be better to have each MNS voice message have a different tone to distinguish? That way the campus would know what to do before the recordings roll in. I know that’s what they’re doing for my school.

I’ve seen universities that use Cooper WAVES branded Hörmann GmbH ECN-Series Speaker sirens interfaced with a Wheelock SAFEPATH MNS System. Additionally companies like Alertus have rebranded this Speaker driven siren for these purposes. Around here, the University of Akron chose Federal Signal Modulator and DSA Series Speaker array sirens for this purpose. They have at least 5 of them (a little too much coverage if you ask me; they’re the only sirens in the City of Akron (city never had a CD siren system and still doesn’t have one); if there’s a tornado warning in Akron they pull the fire trucks out of the stations and sound their vehicular sirens off…probably really confuses traffic…).

Here’s a video of one of those Cooper WAVES units that I’m talking about. This one, interestingly enough, features a “fire emergency/fire drill message”, which I think is pretty cool. It’s at a college in Wisconsin IIRC (although it’s in the title or description):


Here’s another example of one from Georgia on a military base, judging from the person yelling “Exercise, Exercise, Exercise!” Through the live voice PA feature. Interestingly, they use a code 3 tone:


Although most electronic siren manufacturers already sell to college campuses already. In many cases, an outdoor warning system is one of the easiest ways to Alert people, even in the age of text alerts I don’t see that going away anytime soon.

As with regular MNS systems, they’re probably fairly effective.

Why not just install a mass campus PA system?

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