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Campus Alerts to Include Desktops

Addition will strengthen emergency notification system

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Bridgewater State University has added another channel to its emergency notification systems that quickly sends safety messages to all active desktop computers across the institution during a crisis.

Alertus Desktop, managed by the BSU Police Department, will send a full-screen alert that will open on all active campus-owned computers including those in classrooms, computer labs, faculty and staff offices.

The university’s systems and support groups in the Division of Information Technology is remotely installing the safety software on these computers, with the installation unlikely to impact users. The software package, with a lifetime of patches and upgrades, was made possible by a grant from Alertus Technologies.

The goal of the new system – to improve the redundancy and overall coverage of emergency communications on campus – is achieved by adding the ability to send timely messages to the entire campus community during critical emergencies.

Because students, faculty and staff spend significant amounts of time using campus computers, Alertus Desktop notifications allow the BSUPD to reach a large audience instantaneously.

Alertus will be used in conjunction with other campus emergency messaging technologies that include the emergency notification system, which sends messages via phone, text and email; the outdoor emergency siren on the roof of Maxwell Library; the university’s Web architecture and social media.

“As with other official emergency notification formats, Alertus will be used to notify the campus of issues that affect safety, health or wellbeing such as nearby violence, fire or building evacuations,” said Assistant Chief of Police Matthew Rushton, who administers emergency communications on behalf of the BSUPD.

A test of the Alertus system will be held in conjunction with the university’s biannual test of its emergency notification system on Oct. 3. More information about the test will be provided on community announcements and social media.

Installation of the Alertus Desktop continues the systematic enhancement of the university’s safety systems. BSU Guardian gives students and staff their own personalized mobile safety system that uses GPS to monitor the location of the user.

The university installed additional blue light emergency boxes across campus – bringing the total number of call boxes to 50 – and improved lighting along heavily foot-trafficked areas and student parking lots. BSU has invested more than $100,000 for additional security cameras on the 270-acre main campus. (Story by Eva T. Gaffney, G '01, for University News & Media)

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