2007-09-04

Recommendations for emergency preparedness at UGA

The report from the University of Georgia's Emergency Preparedness and Communications Committee is now available. The following recommendations have been made:
  • Deploy Enhanced 911 and Reverse 911 at UGA
  • Mandate Participation in UGAAlert
  • Mount an Extensive, Ongoing Emergency Preparedness Initiative
  • Improve Police Recruitment and Retention
  • Continue Campus Security Enhancements: Security System, Doors, Weapons Policy, etc.
  • Implement the Building Safety and Security Representative Program and Require NIMS Training
  • Create a Behavioral Assessment/Intervention Team
  • Install Public Address Systems in New Buildings and Retrofit Others
  • Augment Existing Outdoor Warning Sirens with Voice-Capable Speakers
  • Develop Emergency Preparedness Courses for Students, Staff and New Faculty
  • Support Advanced Training for Police Officers
  • Establish an Emergency Operations Center
  • Install LCD Message Boards in Strategic Locations Across Campus
  • Upgrade Current Cable Television Messaging Capabilities
  • Consider Requirement [for Employees] to Carry and/or Wear Identification Cards
  • Install Cameras at Sanford Stadium
One of the best ideas discussed in the report is raising the pay of UGA police officers. The pay rate is currently substandard, and as a result they provide a lot of substandard service. I also like the idea of electronic signs in strategic locations as long as they would not routinely be used in a distracting manner with non-emergency messages.

I still maintain that the UGA Alert system should be geared toward broadcasting SMS and e-mail messages only rather than calling mobile phones with recorded messages. We all know that emergency situations generate a lot of phone traffic, and adding to the airwaves with recorded messages -- when most everyone has text message capability already -- would be unhelpful. There are already cell sites in town operating close to capacity under everyday conditions. UGA's claim on the UGA Alert website that the system is capable of sending so many messages at once is only considering trunk lines between telco switches and VOIP capacity that may be available, not the limits and vagaries on the airwaves of the eight or so mobile networks on the ground in Athens. Further, we have had a commenter on my previous post about this note that in his experience with such systems the messages get out too slowly and are often wasted on voicemail. What I have done in the system is register my home number and entered my text message e-mail address; I only hope that the e-mails are short enough for me to read an adequate message within 160 characters.

3 comments:

Polusplagchnos said...

I think this past gameday the cellular systems experienced a lot of hiccups. Did anyone else have these problems or notice anything?

I'm not sure participation in UGAAlert should be mandated.

Adrian said...

And cellular capacity on game days is usually greater because providers often plan ahead and bring in COWs (cellsites on wheels) to expand capacity.

Tim said...

I laughed at the 'wellness peer educator' line. That should be nominated for a Pulitzer for best use of nonsense trivial boilerplate crap.
And I don't really understand what having cameras in Sanford Stadium would bring to bear on what UGA is trying to do with all these recommendations. I would appreciate a web interface to those cameras though, it would be great good fun watching all the drunks at the games.