ON THE BALL: Bill Bray, James Jephcott and Darren Morris from CQUniversity, activate the emergency lockdown drill from Rockhampton, alerting the Bundaberg campus emergency response team to take action.
ON THE BALL: Bill Bray, James Jephcott and Darren Morris from CQUniversity, activate the emergency lockdown drill from Rockhampton, alerting the Bundaberg campus emergency response team to take action. Contributed

Bundy uni first to test new emergency notification systems

CQUNIVERSITY Bundaberg was the first campus in the university's Australia-wide footprint, to test brand new emergency notification systems implemented throughout the past year.

During 2015, the university has made it an operational priority to implement systems that will enable it to better respond to emergency and disaster incidents, in a timely and effective manner.

The systems implemented allow staff and students to alert the university's security teams to an unfolding incident and in turn allow the university to communicate back, so that correct and up-to-date information and instructions can be shared.

Thursday's test put the entire campus into a full-scale simulated lockdown, with staff and students being alerted by automated messages sent via SMS and email, and a specific mobile app for safety. Desktop phones in all rooms were also paged when the alert was set off.

Overall, the university was extremely pleased with the results of the test, which also allowed emergency response teams to observe actions and identify other ways to improve response processes.

CQUniversity Vice-Chancellor Professor Scott Bowman said the University was serious about the safety and well-being of staff and students and that these systems put the university out in front, when it came to being prepared.

"While it is unlikely we would ever witness a lockdown or evacuation due to a serious event, it certainly isn't impossible, which is why we need to be prepared.

"The results of this first test were very positive and by undertaking exercises like this we are able to make sure our systems work and identify any gaps in the processes we have developed."

Professor Bowman also said the systems wouldn't just be used in serious incidents but would play a part in notifying staff about other dangers, hazards and campus closures.

"CQUniversity has delivery sites around Australia, with many of our sites being in areas that are affected by severe weather events.

"In the past two years we have experienced the devastating 2013 flood in Bundaberg, the severe Brisbane storm last November, and of course Cyclone Marcia at the beginning of this year, which forced the closure of four campuses before the storm even hit.

"Now that we have these systems in place we can notify staff and students about severe weather events and subsequent campus closures, keeping them safe and well-informed.

"For example, we can SMS students letting them know the campus is closed, which will stop them from entering the site if there are things like debris or power lines down," he said.

CQUniversity will test the systems across their national campus network.



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