One Button alert system working well after tests

One Button is an automated notification system that sends out notifications to anyone in the Alert Carolina system. With the push of a button, the One Button system will send text messages and emails while updating the website and social media for Alert Carolina. This system was implemented this summer.

The system has five buttons, each for a specific notification — armed person on campus, tornado warning, fire or chemical emergency, test and all clear.

Matthew Mauzy, IT manager at the ITS control center, said testing the system shows students, faculty and staff what to expect in the event of an emergency.

“While we haven’t had, thankfully, any crises that have required activating the system, we did do a full system test (two weeks ago) that was successful in activating all of the components that are apart of the Alert Carolina system and testing the new software and hardware that was added into the system as part of the One Button enhancement,” Mauzy said.

Derek Kemp, associate vice chancellor for campus safety and risk management, said at the May Board of Trustees meeting this system would shorten the response time from 15 minutes to two to three minutes.

Mauzy said the messages and the updates themselves will not change — just the method they are delivered across campus.

“From the end user, from the recipient, they’re going to get the message exactly the same way, it’s just reduced the amount of time,” Mauzy said.

Kemp said at the May BOT meeting these system updates were a response to the attempted kidnapping in November 2015.

“In the past, where the initial activation of those tools was a more manual process, in that it required someone to log into the tool and then activate the scenario, the One Button process automated all of that,” Mauzy said.

Randy Young, spokesperson for the department of public safety, said he felt the system worked well at notifying people they were testing the system.

“I think we did a pretty good job of getting the information out on exactly what we were trying to do and what we were looking to accomplish,” he said.

Young said after successfully testing the One Button system, the University plans to continue to update and evolve the system. He said the next step is to include more people in the notification system, such as parents or community members outside the University.

“This is just one step in an ongoing process where we consistently and continually look to improve our best practices,” Young said.

Thanks for reading.

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