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The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

    MSU implements Maroon Alert emergency system

    MSU officials are utilizing communication technology to try to create a safer atmosphere in emergency situations on campus. Comprised of different channels of media, the Maroon Alert is a tool that will inform people on campus and in the community by transmitting urgent information through text messaging, instant messaging, 91.1 WMSV and a hotline. In the case of emergency, the Crisis Action Team (CAT) will activate the Maroon Alert and MSU President Robert ‘Doc’ Foglesong and vice president for student affairs Bill Kibler will manage any preventative activity. Teams will meet in a designated location and assess the current situation.
    In order for students and faculty to receive the text messages, they must submit their cell phone numbers to MyBanner on the MSU Web site.
    “Our goal is to reach people any way that we can when we are trying to send a message out that important because any one method has its own limitations,” risk manager of student affairs Mike Goolsby said.
    The MSU Police Department will also help to implement the alert system.
    Police Chief Georgia Lindley said the department will respond to any emergency and will try to inform the public in any way possible. The campus has loudspeaker capabilities and announcements can be made through the Chapel of Memories, she said.
    “[The Maroon Alert’s effectiveness] depends upon students and faculty voluntarily giving up their phone numbers so they can receive the information,” Lindley said.
    Dean of Students Mike White said he finds the responsibility of keeping the campus safe very important.
    “We as the administration have an obligation to provide a safe environment,” he said. “If not, we are not doing our jobs.”
    WMSV will also be working in close association with the CAT in the event of a crisis. Broadcasting over the air and online, WMSV will increase the awareness of a potential problem to the unsuspecting public.
    “Our primary goal is to get on and give information as soon as possible, so that any one listening on air and online will know what is going on,” said Anthony Craven, director of news and public affairs for WMSV.
    White said an emergency plan has always been in place but it was limited. The major problem with the previous plan was that it focused merely on responding to the crisis rather than anticipating its arrival.
    “We have always had an emergency so that anyone listening on air and online will know what is going on,” said Anthony Craven, director of news and public affairs for WMSV.
    White said an emergency plan has always been in place but it was limited. The major problem with the previous plan was that it focused merely on responding to the crisis rather than anticipating its arrival.
    “We have always had an emergency plan, but Foglesong has taught us to be proactive rather than reactive because a lack of preparation will do more damage than the initial disaster,” White said.
    The team conducted a drill recently on campus and also employed the use of the Maroon Alert system. These emergency drills are conducted once or more a month. Goolsby and White write up the drills themselves and each one begins with an objective and scenario to test those objectives.
    After the drill is complete, the team comes together and looks at how well the original objectives are met.
    Goolsby said there have been five tests of the alert system so far.
    The types of drills being performed range anywhere from potential ice storms to bomb threats. In case of a biological threat, a hazardous material expert and biological safety officer are available.
    “This plan will work for any emergency that we may have in any situation,” White said. CAT also desires to purchase and place nine speaker systems on campus that will be able to penetrate the buildings working alongside with Maroon Alert. Although these measures have been put into place, it does not mean that MSU is entirely safe.
    “We hope not to have to use any of the things we are planning, however, we have something ready if we do,” Goolsby said.

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    The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University
    MSU implements Maroon Alert emergency system