ISU Uses Text Messaging, Telephones and Cameras to Send Campus Alerts


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ISU’s RAVE alert system and other Public Safety technology keeps students safe and informed of dangerous situations on campus.

Joe Newport, assistant director of ISU Public Safety, said the RAVE alert system is a mass warning message sent to student emails and cellphones.  Messages are limited to 70 characters in length and direct students to visit the Public Safety website for a brief explanation of the situation at hand.

RAVE is usually used about 2-3 times per semester to warn of situations involving criminal conduct or extreme weather conditions, he said. Public Safety sends messages free of charge, but standard carrier fees may apply.

Classrooms have also been equipped with speakerphones that are directly linked with the Public Safety dispatch center.  Newport said in the event of a situation, dispatch can activate a particular classroom speaker phone and send a direct verbal message to that classroom.  It allows for people in classrooms to know of situations going on outside and what measures should be taken.  In the event that a classroom speakerphone is used, it is very likely that a RAVE alert message will also be sent out.

Public Safety has approximately 30 blue light machines dispersed around campus.  The blue light machines allow direct contact to the Public Safety dispatch center.  Two buttons are located on the face of the machines, one is labeled information, and the other is labeled emergency.  Students can press and release the buttons to request information, or to report a dangerous situation.  Cameras are focused on the blue light machines, so the dispatch center can view and film the surrounding area.

Newport said that discussions are currently underway about updating  to a new generation of cameras for the blue light machines.

The goal for using all of the technology is to inform as many people as possible about an emergency.

“Public Safety has received good reviews with the notification system,” he said. “People have the opportunity to be informed, and the RAVE alert system is the best one but only if people sign up for it.”

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