UCSB has installed the first of five speakers on campus to announce potential threats and safety information in the event of an emergency.

[media-credit id=20125 align=”alignleft” width=”250″][/media-credit]The new speaker is affixed atop Kerr Hall and the additional four speakers will likely be installed on the Rec Cen, Kohn Hall, Santa Rosa Hall and the Faculty Club within the year. The broadcast system will supplement the university’s current emergency notification plan, which malfunctioned last year during the South Hall scare — during which police received inaccurate information that there was a gunman on the sixth floor of the building.

According to a press release, the speakers have a range of 2,400 feet and will be placed on the roofs of buildings with energy generators in order to run in the event of a power outage.

Although e-mails, text message alerts and Facebook notifications are already sent as a part of the existing system, Associate Vice Chancellor Ron Cortez said the new audio plan will ensure that a majority of students receive important safety information.

“We have a committee that reviews risks on campus,” Cortez said. “We felt it was important to not just have one method to notify students but have a variety of methods.”

Other developments to UCSB’s Emergency Services system include an emergency preparation website that provides information regarding current security situations and steps being taken in order to mitigate potential threats.

Moreover, Emergency Preparedness Manager Jim Caesar said the Radio Ready network, which consists of numerous local radio stations including KCSB, will ensure that urgent notifications will reach a broad audience.

“It’s a satellite network of radio stations, so that if something happens and we lose communication with the county, they can call the radio station on campus, 91.9 FM, who can release the information,” Caesar said.

Caesar also noted the importance of the Emergency Assistance Program, which allows campus community members with disabilities or special needs to register on a list that would be sent to the police or fire department for evacuation in case of an emergency.

Angela Mathews, a fourth-year film studies and Spanish major, said the new developments are a positive step for campus security. 

“I think it will be a more effective and immediate form of safety notifications,” Mathews said.