Campuswide emergency alert system to be installed

System installed at DVC to extend to CCC campus

By Michael Santone, Associate Editor

A districtwide proposal to install a direct emergency line throughout campus buildings and classrooms was approved at the July 26 Governing Board meeting.

The two-way screen and speaker system will be button operated providing audible and text-based alerts that connect directly to Police Services.

“DVC has most of its installation done,” Technology Systems Manager James Eyestone said. “The contractors are going in a sequence and Contra Costa College will be next.”

Classrooms and buildings, such as the General Education Building, Student Dining Hall and Applied Arts Building, will soon receive the communication upgrade aimed to better assist in case of natural disasters or a shelter in place emergency.

The system is taking the place of the emergency phone lines that were once a staple in classrooms.

“Los Medanos College did the phone thing but it got out of hand with on going license fees to provide services,” Eyestone said. “With this system, there is a compromise for a two-way connection to Police Services, faculty and staff.”

With the recent string of campus shootings including the scare at the University of Southern California campus on Oct. 2 and the Grambling State University shooting death of two freshmen on Oct. 27, the need for safety and readiness has taken precedence.

“The whole idea is to keep students and faculty safe,” Buildings and Grounds Manager Bruce King said. “Just the other day a campus was locked down because of an active shooter. This new system will give those in danger the ability to communicate with those on the outside.”

Because this is a districtwide project, the same contractors will be used for all three district colleges, King said. The installation involves re-wiring and cable pulling through all of the areas that are to be connected.

“They got the equipment and have been working on it in some buildings,” King said. “It shouldn’t take longer than three to six months to complete, but I don’t know when it will be in full operation.”

Police Services Lt. Tom Holt said he has not seen how the whole system works, but knows that it involves a direct connection to Police Services officers.

“We can talk back to it and if people are overly panicked, we can cut it off so we can spread the message,” Holt said. “No matter what’s happening we can find the place and what’s going on.”

The older emergency system, built in the General Education Building, sends alerts to officers’ phones when the button is triggered.

“There was a lot of discussion about putting phones in the classrooms,” he said. But they decided not to do that.