The UMS Campus Alert system deployed at the University of Agder in Norway enables the institution to warn or inform everyone on the campus premises in a fast and secure manner in case of an emergency situation. Together, UMS and the University ensure safety and strengthens security.
Universities and learning institutions are vulnerable targets and exposed to various kinds of hostile actions and other high risk incidents. The common pattern amongst incidents at learning institutions is that the attack is sudden and often ends quickly. Consequently, the need for fast alerts to reach everyone within a specific area in an emergency is becoming increasingly apparent.
The University of Agder has more than 11 000 students and 1 200 employees. The University values its welcoming and open campus atmosphere and does not intend to restrict access to the campus for the public or the students. It is impossible for the University to keep track of all the people moving in and out of the campus on a daily basis.
The Solution: Campus Alert
The solution implements UMS’ patented location based alerting technology, where all cell phones in a given geographic area can be alerted via SMS. Thus all people on campus can be alerted quickly, irrespective of whether they are staff, students or visitors. It is also possible to visualise how crowds are divided around the campus area.
Due to the the considerable number of people on campus at any given time, there is a possibility of overloading the network when alerting, causing a spike. In order to avoid this, UMS Campus Alert leverages UMS’ patented congestion control technology that ensures that messages are sent out quickly without bottleneck problems.
UMS Campus Alert provide options to resend the same message, send updates as well as respond capabilities. Features to create predefined alert templates for various scenarios accelerates the sending alert process further. Messages can be defined in multiple languages so that non-native speakers on campus can receive alerts in English or their own language.
Results of Solution Testing
UMS Campus Alert was tested in a preparedness exercise at the University of Agder in September 2015. With almost 5 000 recipients inside or close to the campus area, the first alert was delivered within 20 seconds. The sending was confirmed delivered to all recipients within 90 seconds. During this exercise the University experienced that an evacuation by sending SMS to everyone on campus is extremely effective. Where they had formerly spent up to 16 minutes evacuating the entire campus, it took less than 3 minutes using UMS Campus Alert.
UMS Campus Alert has proved to be an extremely effective solution that has given a huge boost to the disaster preparedness of the University of Agder. With up to 500% improvement in evacuation time and more importantly, by ensuring a non-chaotic evacuation, UMS Campus Alert has proven that it can significantly reduce the risk to life and property at the University in the event of a disaster.