Emergency Texting System Gains Momentum, More Users Subscribe
By Michael Ferraresi
GCU News Bureau
The technology is something many people would say they hope GCU will never have to use. But it’s in place now. Just in case.
|EMERGENCY TEXT MESSAGES|
If Tuesday’s first emergency text-message was any indication, the public safety alerts sent to GCU users’ mobile phones and emails could indicate a range of issues – not only threats of campus violence or major catastrophes.
In fact, students and staff already have started to use the system to communicate real-time messages about everything from the daily lunch menu at the Student Union to updates on Antelope sports.
Thousands of students, plus many staff and faculty, are now registered to receive text or email messages through GCU’s new emergency alert system provided through Massachusetts-based Rave Mobile Safety. Students were automatically enrolled in emergency messages, although they can opt out. Other users are required to log in to opt in to emergency alerts.
An alert sent Tuesday by GCU’s Public Safety office read: “Beware of unknown individuals asking for rides due to car problems, may be a scam for a robbery attempt. Refuse and report to Public Safety.”
The message warned students and others to be mindful of their surroundings. A student had alerted campus officers that a woman was hanging out in a shopping plaza, using a ruse about needing a jump start on a dead car battery to lure Good Samaritans into a nearby apartment complex where some have been robbed, authorities said.
Henry Griffin, GCU’s Public Safety director, said the technology will enable his office to communicate with the entire campus community in fluid cases that involve serious security threats. Texts and emails, managed by the Public Safety office, would likely include uniform information about anything from safe escape routes to traffic restrictions.
“From time to time if there’s message we need to get out … it may not be an imminent threat of danger, but it’s something they’ll need to be aware of,” Griffin said about alerts like Tuesday’s.
Aside from emergency alerts, GCU’s Communications office is working with other departments to organize weekly or daily alerts on campus life, arts, sports, spiritual life and other events, such as live music at Thunderground at Thunder Alley.
As many as 134 users had volunteered to receive alerts from GCU Arena, for example, although membership numbers are expected to grow as more students and staff become aware of the program.
Contact Michael Ferraresi at 639.7030 or firstname.lastname@example.org.