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UMFK TO TEST NEW CAMPUS EMERGENCY NOTIFICATION SYSTEM IN COMPLIANCE WITH FEDERAL LAW

September 11, 2008

NR08076

The University of Maine at Fort Kent will test a new campus emergency warning siren system between the hours of 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. on Tuesday, September 16, 2008.

The University’s warning system was purchased, and has been installed, to notify students, faculty, staff and campus neighbors of the campus to potential natural disasters and emergency situations.

The warning consists of three siren “blasts” that can be heard within a 1,500-foot radius of the UMFK campus.

Tuesday’s test will be performed to ensure that the warning siren system functions as it was designed, and to alert the UMFK campus community and nearby neighbors to the sound of the warning siren system.

Following the sounding of the three blasts, a brief message will be heard indicating that THIS IS ONLY A TEST.  A single “all clear” blast will conclude the test.

The audible campus emergency is just one component of emergency notification new to the UMFK campus this fall.

The University also has contracted with Connect-ED, a service which allows campus administrators and emergency personnel to send time-based notifications within minutes of an emergency declaration.

Through a simple three-step process, UMFK can quickly inform students, faculty, staff, and parents at multiple contact points, including cell phones, home phones, campus phones, PDAs/pagers, e-mail accounts, TTY/TDD devices for the hearing impaired, and networked digital signage.  Results of the transmission to each recipient are delivered back to UMFK, upon the call’s completion.

The Virginia Tech Victims Act, an amended form of the Higher Education Act of 1965, standardizes the emergency and evacuation response of colleges and universities during campus crises.

Under the law, universities must disclose and test their emergency and evacuation plans annually.  The legislation also requires that schools notify students and faculty members "immediately" upon confirmation of a crisis by campus security personnel.