|Connect-Ed will simultaneously call and text message emergency messages.|
Nearly one year ago, Virginia Tech University experienced the unthinkable when a gunman killed 32 people and himself in the bloodiest day in U.S. education history. Northern Illinois experienced its own tragedy recently with seven deaths at the hands of a campus shooter. These tragedies have brought fine focus to how a university communicates with its community during an emergency.
In an effort to embrace widely-used technology to benefit public safety, Cal Poly Pomona is launching a comprehensive emergency communications system that will alert all members of the university community in the event of an urgent situation.
This system contracted by Connect-ED will be able to simultaneously send messages 24/7. This includes all home, office and cell phones, e-mail addresses, text/SMS, TTY/TTD devices and PDAs in a matter of minutes. Messages can be delivered even if the region is hit with a catastrophic event.
“With the proliferation of mobile communications there is a new widespread expectation that messages of public safety should be relayed instantaneously,” says Debbi McFall, the university's emergency services coordinator. “While there will always be some gap of time between when an incident occurs and when messages are delivered to the public – this technology assures that process is as quick as possible.”
Maintaining a safe campus environment requires participation from everyone, and the university is strongly encouraging all students, staff and faculty to update their contact information.
HOW WILL CAL POLY POMONA USE THIS RESOURCE? Simply put – when safety is at risk. Connect-ED will NEVER be used for non-emergency communication. It will NEVER be used to deliver curricular-related information, details on general campus events or deadlines. Connect-ED is only for emergencies. Connect-ED gives the university the ability to provide critical safety information to strategic areas and groups (i.e. residential students, classroom and laboratory phones, people in select geographic regions, etc.) The Office of Public Affairs will have primary responsibility for when and how messages will be delivered. University Police will have the ability to initiate these messages after hours.
HOW DOES CONNECT-ED ACCESS YOUR CONTACT INFORMATION? For Cal Poly Pomona students and employees, Connect-ED will receive a nightly update from Bronco Direct/PeopleSoft, the university's database system. ASI and Foundation employees will also have their information uploaded into Connect-ED every day via their respective systems. In addition, a team of campus professionals is working to identify all other groups, including Children's Center parents, vendors, contractors, etc. so they can be contacted in emergencies. Stringent security protocols protect sensitive information. All Connect-ED data is stored at a redundant Level 4 government-rated facility – the highest rating available.
THE KEY TO SAFETY IS INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATION. If Cal Poly Pomona does not have current and accurate personal information, you may not be notified in the event of an emergency. It is essential that every faculty, staff and student take the time to update their personal information.
Cal Poly Pomona faculty and staff can go online at https://broncodirect.cpp.edu. Once you log in, links on the upper left side allow you to update your personal information. It is under a header called “Employee Self Services.” Please make sure that ALL of your information is up-to-date, including your business/office phone, home (main) phone, cell phone and home address. This may require adding new information into the database. Although Connect-ED will not need your emergency contact information, this would be an excellent time to make sure that information is correct.
SYSTEM TESTING – Once every quarter during the traditional academic year, the system will be tested with a special message. The campus community will be notified in advance as to when the message will go out. The test will follow a protocol similar to the Emergency Broadcast System.
NEXT STEPS – Update your contact information, via BroncoDirect. Watch for an e-mail early in Spring quarter announcing the date for the first test of the campus emergency message system.
Thank you for your attention to this important initiative. Should you have any questions, please e-mail Associate Vice President for University Relations Ron Fremont at firstname.lastname@example.org.