Oklahoma City University Upgrades Campus Security
Oklahoma City University is a coeducational, urban private university located in Oklahoma City, in the Midtown district. Oklahoma City University’s Chief of Police, Lyndel Harris, took some time to talk about the new Talk-A-Phone WEBS installation and the positive impact it has on the university.
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Oklahoma City University is affiliated with the United Methodist Church and offers a wide variety of degrees in the liberal arts and sciences disciplines. OCU is the only Oklahoma institution listed in the top tier of the regional, master’s-level university category by U.S. News and World Report magazine. It is also listed in “America’s Best Christian Colleges” & “100 Best College Buys.”
With over 3,700 students enrolled in various programs at the OCU, some of them residing on campus, comes a great responsibility. Acknowledging the unique security demands presented by disparate campuses and parking lots, security authorities at the OCU decided to go with Talk-A-Phone’s Wide-Area Emergency Broadcast System, WEBS®, to maximize not only their ability to respond to emergency calls and to monitor emergency situations, but to initiate emergency notifications.
Eighteen newly installed WEBS® towers are continuously lit, calling attention to the location of the tower and the emergency phone. The familiar blue light strobe atop Talk-A-Phone’s towers provides comfort to passers-by, who know that help is only a push of a button away and that a million candlepower strobe is activated the moment emergency call is initiated, attracting attention to the scene and deterring crime.
The WEBS® tower allows the caller to simply push the information button and immediately get connected to the OCU’s switchboard, where campus security personnel are able to assist the caller with both emergency and non-emergency matters. The new phones are highly visible and easily accessible to all OCU’s visitors and resident at all times.
Another distinct feature of Talk-A-Phone’s WEBS® towers is the audio broadcast capability. The system is extremely flexible and allows security authorities to specify individual nodes or multiple broadcast zones to relay audio messages at peak 123 dBA. The sound pressure level can be adjusted to broadcast over shorter distances, depending on the area one is trying to cover.
“One of the reasons why we decided to go with Talk-A-Phone is we could make broadcast announcements on them. They could be used for information and also emergencies,” reasoned Lyndel Harris, the Chief of Police at the Oklahoma City University. He then continued, “Someone new to the campus could hit the information button, which goes directly to our switchboard, and from there they can receive any information about the campus that they need to know.”
Adding Talk-A-Phone’s Wide-area Emergency Broadcast System (WEBS®) as a prominent layer to their security system, the Oklahoma City University has strengthened its ability to send and receive emergency communications by providing a notification method not easily ignored. Security personnel can loudly broadcast information through an open air to address the campus at-large or select targeted clusters of WEBS® enabled devices to address specific areas on as-needed basis.
The Wide-area Emergency Broadcast System allows the system to instantly relay messages to intended recipients in case of a fire, civil defense emergencies or natural disasters. The system can also be effectively used for crowd control.
The Oklahoma City University has plans to expand the system and install more emergency response phones throughout the campus. “Eventually, we are going to … have a broadcast system in every building on campus,” asserted Lyndel Harris on University’s plans to expand the system. He then explained, “That will allow us to broadcast a message through the phones if we have an active shooter; everyone is going to be notified by the intercom system in there.”
Having an active shooter on campus is one of the worst nightmares any university or college could possibly face. Establishing reliable communication links between staff members and campus residents in case of an emergency is critical and utilizing audio notifications should be seriously considered. This is particularly true in geographically dispersed environments.
An audio notification is the most reliable form of interaction to get the right message to the right people in real time. Unlike text messaging or visual signage, audio notifications cannot be easily ignored and are capable of propagating the desperately wanted awareness in critical situations. Talk-A-Phone’s WEBS® system can also be easily integrated into other layered systems that utilize text messaging or visual alerts among other methods of notification.
Broadcasting through open air has become an essential part of any Mass Notification system in today’s oversaturated information medium. The Oklahoma City University understands the importance of reaching the intended audience with critical information; at the end of the day, they can proudly announce their full commitment to building a safe and sound community through open air.
- Date May 27, 2016
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