Today: Jun 17, 2024

New siren set and ready to alert the SCSU campus

Olivia Richman

General Assignment Reporter

Severe weather, hazardous materials and hostile intruders–these are just some of the things the new siren public address system warns the campus community about. When something threatens Southern’s students, professors and staff, a siren that can be heard throughout the external parts of the campus sounds, followed by a prerecorded or live message that warns the community to get somewhere safe.

“It can quickly get peoples’ attention when something is going on,” said Chief of Police Joseph Dooley. “It’s just one more layer of communication back to the campus.”
The new siren public address system, which is made up of five speaker systems around campus, was tested last month and could be heard not only around campus, but inside some buildings, said Dooley, who is also the director of public safety on campus. According to Dooley, there will be another test of the system mid-February, “now that students are back on campus.”
“Our intent is to use this in conjunction with other communication methods,” said Dooley, “such as SCSU alert mass notification, e-mail, website, and the phone trees around campus.”
Another new addition to campus safety this year is the training that students, faculty and staff will get, said Dooley. With the campus community, he will discuss what to do in case there is workplace violence or an intruder on campus, to name a few.
“We will give instructions and training over the next couple months,” said Dooley. “It will help (people living on) campus, as well as in life.”
“I feel safe on campus because of the police presence,” said Samson Rutkin, a freshman at SCSU. “I know that if anything goes on they will be there.”
But do the students know about the new systems that the campus police have set up?
“I know about all of them,” said Rutkin. “They make me feel safe because of the simple fact that they’re there if needed.”
One of these systems on campus is the SCSU Alert system.
“It’s used for notifications of similar incidents,” said Dooley, “such as closings, early dismissals and delays. We got a lot of feedback from students that they were bothered by a phone call so early in the morning, so based off feedback (students) get texts instead of phone calls.”
Dooley said he encourages individuals to sign up for SCSU Alert.
Another form of communication with the campus comes in the form of a small pocket guide and map that is available to pick up at residence halls, the police station and the student center. Dooley said he plans to put the maps on the shuttle buses as well in the near future.
Once the map is open, a student can not only find parking lots and buildings, but can see where there are emergency phones throughout the campus. On the back of the map there are safety tips, such as not walking alone and parking in well-lit areas, and a list of emergency communications, which include the public address system and fire alarms.
Jon Rivnyak, a history secondary education major, said he feels safe security-wise because “there’s a cop within 10 seconds of my location 9 out of 10 times.”
Even so, Rivnyak said that SCSU still has other dangers: the walking conditions.
“The paths are not plowed,” said Rivnyak, “they’re iced over all the time, the stairs are never cleared off.”
Rivnyak also said he feels as though the siren public address system is not being utilized to its full potential.
“There have been four times when they should have used it and haven’t, so why have it?” he said. “For example, they’re supposed to use it for (school) cancellations. One of my friends is on the committee that set them up and said that’s what it’s for.”
Dooley said that if students have any questions they can contact him by reaching 392-5375, or his SCSU e-mail.

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