Digital Version of November/December 2014 Print Edition
Honeywell to equip University with mass notification system
The University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) has started the installation of five mass notification warning system speakers on UCSB’s campus. The network, called the Notifier mass notification system is designed and manufactured by Honeywell, of Morris Township, NJ. The speakers are manufactured by Whelen Corporation of Chester, NJ.
The system is installed to allow better communication with the students, faculty and staff, in the event of an emergency such as earthquake, fire, or an active shooter. It will tell people where to go and what to do. “The Notifier system will provide another layer of notification for the campus,” Associate Vice Chancellor Ron Cortez said. “I think it will really increase our capacity to handle an active shooter incident, which is a really tough one to handle because they happen so quickly. The most important thing in that case is communication. I think it will be very beneficial to the campus.”
More broadly, according to Cortez, the redundancy of information is a key factor for coping with an emergency situation. “One of the keys of our success in handling any type of emergency is redundancy of communication,” Cortez noted. “It can’t be just one type of communication to notify the campus in the event of an emergency. Any time we’re using technology, one of the systems might fail, so we need to have different ways to reach people on campus.
Mass notification systems have the ability to send out notifications to hundreds of thousands of recipients through one or several communication means of their choice among phone, cell phone, text message, email and fax.
The speakers installed at UCSB will be connected to the dispatch center of the UCSB Police Department, which is able to speak directly into the system speakers. Each of the speakers will have a range of 2,400 feet at 70 decibels. The five new speakers will be linked to a pre-existing Notifier fire alarm system in several buildings, each equipped with emergency generators. “So even when we have a loss of power, they will still be able to broadcast to the campus,” stressed Cortez.
On June 11, Gamewell-FCI by Honeywell announced the expansion of its portfolio of mass notification system, to include a comprehensive line of wireless and hardwired audible notification solutions for outdoor applications. This new system, ideal for military and universities properties for instance, offers an easy mean of communication over a choice of hardwired media or wireless technologies, including radio frequency, IP-Ethernet, mesh radio and satellite.