Media Contact:Stu Vincent
Send an E-mail
Date: Aug 20, 2007
Hofstra University Creates a Comprehensive Emergency Communications Structure
Implementation of New Technology and Systems Allows University to Launch a Multifaceted Communications Network to Alert Community Immediately of Emergencies
Hofstra University, Hempstead, NY – Hofstra University President Stuart Rabinowitz today announced a five part comprehensive plan to enhance Hofstra’s emergency communications structure. The implementation of the plan, which will be operational during the fall 2007 semester, with the exception of a building lock-down system that will be completed by the spring 2008 semester, will cost the University approximately $750,000 and combine the efforts of several administrative departments. The University will also create a new administrative position, the Director of Emergency Management, to oversee the University’s emergency management system.
“The safety of each and every Hofstra student, faculty and staff member has always been of paramount importance to all of us, and Hofstra has always been dedicated to providing a secure campus environment for all,” said Hofstra University President Stuart Rabinowitz. “In the wake of the tragic events at Virginia Tech, we have redoubled our efforts to take advantage of new technology to enhance safety and security. In addition, for the past year, the senior management team has been working on a comprehensive emergency management plan.”
The new emergency communications structure, called the Campus Alert Notification Network, or CANN, is a major part of that initiative. The five part plan includes the installation of a campus-wide public address system, an expansion of the campus closed circuit television network, the installation of a television alert system, the addition of a high-speed emergency notification system, and the installation of a remote building locking system.
The public address system will be controlled at the Department of Public Safety’s 24-hour central command. Loudspeakers will be installed at 10 locations across campus, and will be equipped to broadcast an emergency tone, other sounds or verbal instructions. The broadcast of the emergency tone will alert the campus community to look at any number of emergency communication information channels to obtain further information and instructions.
Currently, Hofstra utilizes a number of communication channels in case of emergency, including an alert on the home page of the web site, e-mail, a telephone hotline and the campus closed circuit network, Hofcast. The Hofcast network broadcasts campus events and information on a large LCD screen in 20 well-trafficked locations across the campus. The new plan adds almost 73 locations to the current Hofcast network, for a total of 92. The new LCDs will be installed in every academic building during the fall 2007 semester and in all residence halls in the spring 2008 semester, giving all students immediate access to emergency information on screens throughout the campus.
In addition, a new emergency broadcast system will enable the University to overtake all television channels through the campus television service, enabling the broadcast of emergency messages on the 94 television channels available in residence halls and academic facilities.
In order to contact students, faculty and employees through their personal telecommunication devices, the University is contracting with a provider of emergency alert systems to instantly send messages to the entire Hofstra community, via voice, text message, TTD, TTY, or E-mail to any communications device. The system can be used to contact students, faculty, or staff anywhere on campus, en route to campus or off campus.
“Today’s students have many choices about how they receive information, and use cell phones, newspapers, the Internet and any number of communication outlets,” said Robert Juckewicz, Vice President for Information Technology. “On a large and diverse campus such as Hofstra, which operates from early in the morning until late at night and has a large residential and commuter population in more than 100 buildings on 242 acres, it is important to use the broadest variety of communication channels available to ensure that each member of our community receives immediate emergency notification. Thanks to these new technologies, and careful integration and management of many communications channels, we will be able to ensure that the most people get notified of an emergency in the most rapid and useful way possible.”
In addition to the enhancements to the emergency communications system, the University is installing a remote exterior locking system that will permit it to remotely lock and secure an academic building or residence hall, prohibiting entrance but not exit from each building. This system will also be operated out of the Department of Public Safety’s 24-hour command center.
During the fall semester, students will receive initial instruction and will be asked to give their preferred emergency contact information (cell phone number, text message, e-mail). In addition, administrative departments that will be responsible for the coordination of Hofstra’s emergency response and communication network will conduct emergency scenario drills and at least two public emergency tests each year. The Hofstra community will be notified of emergency tests in advance, and asked to participate by confirming the receipt of emergency messages.
The University will also appoint a new Director of Emergency Management. This professional will be responsible for creating and managing Hofstra’s risk management, business continuity, emergency management and disaster recovery programs.
About Hofstra University
Hofstra University is a dynamic private institution where almost 12,500 students find their edge to succeed in more than 140 undergraduate and 155 graduate programs in liberal arts and sciences, business, communication, education and allied human services, and honors studies, as well as a School of Law. The Hofstra community is driven, dynamic and energetic, helping students find and focus their strengths to prepare them for a successful future.