UNB has implemented new security measures to have more means to communicate with students in case of an emergency on campus.
Called the Emergency Response Management Services, the new system allows students, faculty and staff to register their contact information with the university. If there is an emergency, UNB security needs only to press a button and warnings will go to every person registered.
“Right now, if there’s an emergency, we can only communicate with students through email and we can post things to social media and word of mouth, but that’s all we have,” said Natasha Ashfield, a UNB communications officer.
The new measures will e much more extensive. After a few years of considering the initiative, UNB has decided to launch it this month because students are back in classes.
“It’s being in place for several months, we just rolling out a communications plan right now. We were waiting for students to come back so we didn’t want to do something in August,” said Ashfield.
UNB sent out emails Monday to every student, faculty and staff asking them to sign up for the system and add additional information, such as their phone numbers.
So far the program is receiving positive feedback from students.
“Sending text messages or calling students is a quicker way to send out the information,” said Oscar Paz, a second year student.
Johanna Reid, a first year student says that sending emails is somewhat effective, but not every student checks their emails, so text messages would be more effective.
“I think it’s a good thing to implement some safety procedures so that they can inform us when there’s something serious going on. If something actually happens, we all want to know and have safety precautions to figure something out,” said Reid.
The new system will have a number of template messages for different situations; for instance, there was a suspected or active threat on campus, the system’s message would ask people to go into lockdown, lock doors and stay safe.
“That’s the key message in that situation. If there’s an actual threat, there are the things you need to know,” said Ashfield.
The messages will come directly from UNB security. In order to prove its authenticity it will have a logo and links to UNB security contact for more information.
Besides sending the email to every student, UNB is going to have notices on the portal, MyUNB news items, as well as having posters around campus.