On Thursday, August 28, Millersville University tested its new campus alert siren.
Designed by the Protection Bureau, and contracted by the University, the system is designed to alert students who are outdoors to any potential threats to the campus. University officials were pleased by the test.
“We could hear it from about a mile and a half off campus,” said MUPD Police Chief Wayne Silcox. “Even though it’s not designed for the students who are indoors, they’ll probably be able to hear it too.”
Pat Weidinger, the Director of Safety and Environmental Health on campus, said, “The project has been in the planning stages since about 2002, but it really picked up importance after the tragedy at Virginia Tech in 2007.”
Weidinger is the man responsible for obtaining the various permits needed to set up this project, as well as coordinating with the building team to complete it.
According to Weidinger, tests like the one that occurred Thursday will be held at the very least twice a year, in order to make sure everything is in working order.
This new mass notification system is not the only new improvement to campus safety.
More of the blue safety poles have been added to campus, and are being tested at least twice a month in order to make sure they remain in good working order.
Freshman Sierra Rodgers is appreciative of efforts made by faculty and MUPD to make MU a safer campus.
“I feel secure, but at the same time you can’t stop everything,” said freshman Jasmine Stevenson.
“I feel like I’m home with my parents,” said freshman Ladarra Jones. “I feel safe inside my dorm.”
A reverse 911 system is also being planned. In the system, the dorm room phones of students will broadcast the same message as the siren system in the event of an emergency.
“The system is going to be heavily marketed in the next few weeks and may go into effect as early as this fall,” said Silcox.