THIBODAUX – To ensure that faculty, staff and students receive split-second information in the event of a crisis, the University of Louisiana System has secured the services of FirstCall, a Baton Rouge-based emergency notification network supported by a massive database of contact information. Nicholls State University activated the new communication system Wednesday, Feb. 27.
Utilizing e-mail, cellular and office telephones and text messaging, FirstCall will be used for emergency events occurring on the main campus as well as off-campus institutional sites, including the DuhÃ© Building in Houma. The system includes such features as the capability to transmit alerts, via cell phone text messages, to students, faculty and staff at the rate of 6,000 messages per minute.
“We’re pleased with the successful implementation of FirstCall,” said Dr. Stephen T. Hulbert, university president. “It is one of a series of initiatives designed to protect the health and safety of the university community and visitors.”
Craig Jaccuzzo, director of university police, said FirstCall is a welcome addition to the preexisting campus security system.
“We have always been proactive in measures taken to secure the safety of students, faculty and staff,” Jaccuzzo said. “FirstCall allows us the opportunity to reach a broader side of our campus community in the event of a crisis.”
Nicholls’ extensive emergency preparedness plan includes regularly tested and evaluated procedures, ensuring rapid response to a crisis situation. Such tools, augmented now by the FirstCall system, include:
- Web site: Notices will be posted to the university home page and the Blackboard intranet system.
- E-mail: Messages will be broadcast to campus addresses.
- Telephone: Voice mail messages will be broadcast to campus extensions and posted to the emergency alert hotline at (985) 448-4636 and (866) 709-8927.
- Media: Alerts will be broadcast on the university television and radio stations and distributed to all area print and broadcast media representatives.
- Call boxes: Messages will be broadcast to passers-by.
- Public address system: Alerts will be broadcast to occupants of the university student union and cafeteria.
In addition, Nicholls offers free, private counseling services to all students, faculty and staff provided by licensed, trained personnel.