UNC Asheville recognizes the importance of providing emergency communications to the campus community in a timely and effective manner. The university has several emergency notification Channels (collectively known as BulldogAlert) in place to ensure that emergency notifications are sent quickly and reach as much of the university community as possible. In addition, the university acknowledges the significance of its role in providing consistent, reliable and accurate follow-up communication throughout the crisis.
The process for activating the University’s ENS begins when a potential threat or emergency situation is reported to or received by the Department of Public Safety (DPS). Typically, those reports are received via an incoming telephone call or computer transmission to the DPS E-911 Telecommunications Center (Dispatch). Once the emergency is confirmed, the highest-ranking police field supervisor will notify Dispatch and authorize the initiation of the proper type of notification.
UNC Asheville has several emergency notification channels. Each of the channels are integrated through a central system which allows for the use of the channels collectively or allows for individual use as dictated by the emergency. The channels are as follows:
(Blue Light) Emergency Phones
Located throughout campus, Blue Light Phones are constantly monitored and allow for two-way emergency communications. Our standard for installation of new emergency phones includes camera monitoring and external speakers that broadcast emergency notifications
Outdoor Emergency Alert System
The university’s Outdoor Emergency Alert System consists of two specially designed and strategically placed towers outfitted with a series of powerful speakers. The system is designed for instant campus-wide notification of a serious emergency. In the event of such an emergency, campus police can utilize alert audio tones as well as voice broadcasts to warn the campus community of the specific nature of the threat and where to seek shelter. Three emergency phones have external speaker capabilities are designed to work in conjunction with the two larger broadcast towers.
Code Red allows messages to be sent to students, staff and faculty through e-mail, voice and text. Code Red also is utilized for connection with affiliate programs who have staff, faculty and students utilizing the campus. Additionally Code Red is used by the Crisis Communications team to contact parents and disseminate critical information to them during the course of an emergency.
Students, Staff and Faculty are automatically entered into the Code Red database and will receive alerts on devices provided at registration. Students, Staff and Faculty can verify their information or opt out of the system athttps://www3.unca.edu/bulldogalert/. Parents and external participants can register by going to https://www3.unca.edu/bulldogalert/ and listing their information.
Informa-cast is utilized to integrate the multiple channels used by the university as well as allows for the delivery of emergency messages through Voice over IP speakers and public address systems located within campus buildings. The system also utilizes the campus VOIP phone system to deliver emergency messages. It also has the ability to send pop-up messages to computers logged in to the university’s network system.
Main University Website and BulldogAlert Web Page
UNC Asheville maintains control of a number of Internet websites that can be quickly be converted and exclusively dedicated to the provision of updated and detailed information during the course of a disaster.This includes the main university website (www.unca.edu/) and the designated BulldogAlert webpage (http://bulldogalert.unca.edu/).
Ongoing Crisis Communication Plan
Once activated, University Police will immediately notify the Director of Public Safety, the Director of Emergency Management and the Associate Vice Chancellor of Communications and Marketing. The Director of Public Safety, and the Director of Emergency Management will report to the Incident Command Post (ICP) or the incident scene if an ICP has not been established. After an assessment is made the Director of Public Safety will incorporate into Unified Command. The Director will updated the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs and if warranted by the emergency activate the EOC. The Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs will make the decision to activate the Chancellor’s Policy group. The Associate Vice Chancellor of Communications and Marketing will start the process of tailoring a crisis communication plan to fit immediate needs according to the nature of the emergency.
Immediate needs will include a continuance of the emergency notification process using tools such as Code Red, university web postings, announcements on local radio and television and through social media channels like Facebook and Twitter. In addition, verifiable details of the event suitable for release will be released to the media, as well as identification of the key constituents that need to be kept informed and by what means. Facts will be taken from briefings and Situation Reports from the ICP and EOC.
As the situation evolves, the Crisis Communications Team, consulting with the Chancellor’s Policy will appoint a PIO to serve as the spokesperson for the University. The spokesperson will work with the Incident Commander, EOC Director and the Chancellor’s Policy Group to assure representation from those groups are at briefings and press conferences and that all information being released has been approved by them.