January 22, 2008
The next phase of St. John’s University’s Emergency Preparedness
efforts commenced on January 21 with installation of wiring for
public address speakers in the six dormitories comprising the
Residence Village on the Queens campus.
After wiring the dormitories is complete, installers will move
to other buildings on the Queens campus and concurrently, to
buildings on the Staten Island and Manhattan campuses, according to
Vice President of Public Safety Thomas J. Lawrence.
The new public address speakers will transmit voice messages to
augment the University’s ability to provide instructions and
information during a campus emergency. They join other
communications tools—text and voice messages, email, web messaging
(University Web site, intranet, St. John’s Central), electronic
signs, and the University’s various internal and external phone
systems— used at St. John’s to reach out to the University
Vice President Lawrence explains that the Residence Village was
the logical choice as the first area to be fitted with the new
system. “The safety of our students remains our highest priority,”
he reminds, “and those buildings are occupied 24/7. This new PA
system is another weapon in our Emergency Preparedness arsenal and
will enhance our ability to alert the University community of a
campus emergency quickly and effectively.”
Several types of speakers will be installed depending on the
location—indoor or outdoor, wall- or pole-mounted, for example—and
the area needing coverage. Lawrence emphasizes that these speakers
are being installed solely for the purpose of emergency
notification but that periodic testing of the system will be
necessary and will be announced to the affected community well in
advance of the test.
Other ways to reach the community, Lawrence says, are still
being considered. The next step will most likely be installing
additional classroom phones to transmit emergency information
directly into a classroom where cell phones might be turned off.
“That was a reality we encountered last September on the Queens
campus,” he notes, adding that he anticipates a contract will be
signed in the near future.