USF Installs Emergency Sirens to Enhance Campus Safety
TAMPA, Fla. (April 30, 2009) – Since establishing the new Division of Public Safety in January 2008, the University of South Florida has implemented a number of initiatives aimed at strengthening campus safety and ensuring a secure environment for students and university employees. Now, a new project is being put into place to enhance the overall system.
The latest addition to the Division of Public Safety efforts includes the installation of an Emergency Notification System (ENS) on the Tampa campus. The ENS consists of eight emergency warning stations stationed throughout campus, which each have a siren, loudspeaker and strobe light.
During the week of May 4, an important wiring process will take place which will entail testing noises such as chimes, short siren blasts, or voices on the loudspeakers. The scheduling of this work was intentionally planned to follow commencement on May 2. Fortunately, the majority of students will not be on campus as workers make every effort to keep related disruptions to a minimum.
Once the ENS installation is completed, basic information will be disseminated to the university community, to include a public demonstration facilitated by USF President Judy Genshaft and other campus leaders, and scheduled to take place early in the fall semester.
The Division of Public Safety was established to maintain a secure environment and is made up of the University Police Department, AlliedBarton Security, Emergency Operations and Parking Enforcement services. Together, these departments coordinate their resources to establish a cohesive and effective emergency response.
Other measures in the Division of Public Safety that have strengthened campus safety include:
Combined dispatch: University Police, AlliedBarton Security and Parking Enforcement formerly operated three separate dispatch operations on campus. All three have now been consolidated into one Public Safety dispatch system. The new, 24/7 dispatch operation allows for instant radio communication among all units that support campus safety and security.
Mo-Bull: In August of 2008, administration required registration for the “Mo-Bull” service, making subscription to the emergency text messaging system mandatory. Currently more than 50,700 students, faculty and staff are registered for this free service – approximately a 238% increase over initial enrollment.
Tactical response team: Last year, the police department created a tactical response team specially trained to be the first responders in an emergency. The tactical response team participates in an annual active shooter response training scenario.
Training: AlliedBarton security officers and Parking Enforcement personnel are receiving additional training in traffic control, CPR, first aid, and elevator rescue during power outages.
Bicycle patrol officers: University Police have added bicycle patrol, increasing officer visibility and mobility on campus.
Coordinated emergency notification: Groundwork has been laid for the implementation of a coordinated notification system (using specially designed software) which will, with a touch of a button, utilize all existing methods of outreach including the ENS, MoBull text messages, e-mail, the USF home page on the Web and digital display screens stationed throughout campus.
In addition to these initiatives, efforts are underway to enhance public safety programs of student interest. These include public safety internships within the Department of Criminology, Parking Enforcement student positions and student involvement in campus emergency medical stand-by operations. The Division of Public Safety has also created a Web site (www.usf.edu/publicsafety) to provide on-going information about USF safety and security issues.
For more information about the installation of the ENS, or any safety measures on the USF Tampa campus, please contact Lara Wade at (813) 974-9060.
The University of South Florida is one of the nation's top 63 public research universities and one of 39 community-engaged, four-year public universities as designated by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. USF was awarded more than $360 million in research contracts and grants in FY 2007/2008. The university offers 219 degree programs at the undergraduate, graduate, specialist and doctoral levels, including the doctor of medicine. The university has a $1.8 billion annual budget, an annual economic impact of $3.2 billion, and serves more than 46,000 students on institutions/campuses in Tampa, St. Petersburg, Sarasota-Manatee and Lakeland. USF is a member of the Big East Athletic Conference.