Imagine finding yourself in the middle of a life-threatening situation, but instead of a loud alarm that frightens everyone around you, there is a calm, instructive voice informing you of what’s going on while guiding you to safety.
With the innovation of virtually all forms of technology, BYU-Idaho Public Safety is in the process of updating campus fire alarm systems to provide students with a new safety feature, known as an annunciator system, to better protect and inform BYU-Idaho campus of dangerous situations.
“As we’ve upgraded our systems, we’ve updated from a horn strobe system to what’s called a speaker strobe system. You still get the beep, but a voice accompanies the beep,” said BYU-Idaho Fire Protection Officer Byron Gilbert.
All emergencies are different, but in the event of a fire, the new system works as follows: fire happens, three tones sound to indicate that there’s a fire, pre-recorded voice sounds through speaker system of each fire alarm panel to inform people of the fire emergency.
In the event of certain emergencies, safety services can speak through an intercom and override the pre-recorded voice to communicate specific messages and better protect those in potential danger.
“In any emergency situation, communication is always your biggest struggle or trial and if you can maintain any kind of communication then you are better off,” Gilbert said.
The speaker strobe system gives dispatch the ability to communicate important information, through voice, with specific parts of campus that are under an emergency situation. Using a button and a microphone, dispatch will have the ability to relay messages to specific parts of campus, possibly even to individual floors of a building through the speakers on the fire alarm panel.
“We have our central fire alarm monitoring system here in dispatch, eventually we will be able to communicate with any building, and possibly any floor of campus through dispatch,” Gilbert said.
Through research, new information has been gathered concerning how people respond during times of crisis.
“As technology progresses and research is done, those who study this sort of thing are finding that there’s better response to voice systems,” Gilbert said.
Public Safety’s mission statement reads: “To provide professional services that maintain a peaceful, secure, and safe campus environment.” BYU-Idaho is capitalizing on the benefit of safety innovation in hopes of providing the highest level of safety and relieving as much anxiety as possible in any emergency situation.
Increased communication will help individuals be quickly informed of danger, resulting in greater safety for all on campus. On its webpage, the BYU-Idaho Public Safety Office cautions student and employees, “Knowledge is power, and your first line of defense in the case of an emergency.”
Safety has always been at the top of BYU-Idaho’s priority list. Whether it’s protecting students in an active shooter situation, fire, or another unexpected danger, the university is always looking for the best ways to protect all individuals on campus.
More information regarding BYU-Idaho safety can be found on the BYU-Idaho website under public safety protection.