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Butler Community College Finds Way To Send Emergency Alerts Faster

By: Parrish Alleman Email
By: Parrish Alleman Email

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Tuesday, January 22, 2013

It's only been a month since Butler Community College was put on lockdown after a man with a gun was spotted on campus.

That day, every student and faculty member got a text warning them about the armed intruder. Now, the school says they've found a way to shave minutes off the time it takes to send out an alert and they say in an emergency, every minute matters.

Butler student Kristie Montalbano was at home on the first day of winter break, December 21, when she got a text from the school.

"It said that there was an armed person on the campus and that we should all go somewhere where we wouldn’t be seen,”

A school employee had spotted a man with a gun the entire campus was put on lock down for more than an hour.

"It was very scary actually especially with all the shootings that are going on around everywhere in schools,” Montalbano said,

Butler's Vice President of Student Services says after the first of the year, they went over everything that happened that day: They started with the lock down itself, which he says didn't really need any adjustments.

"We were happy with that, people felt safe they knew they were safe and that was a good thing,” Bill Rinkenbaugh said.

But he says the text message alert did need some work.

"It took us a while to get the initial message out. I mean when I saw a while, it was within five to 10 minutes. Five to 10 minutes is too long. We need to be able to do it sooner than that,” Rinkenbaugh said.

So the school developed a text template. In the case of an emergency, all they have to do is fill in when and where, then hit send.

"We can notify 12,000 people in three minutes,” Rinkenbaugh said.

Kirstie Montalbano says if there is ever another emergency at her school, she feels safer knowing she'll know about it sooner.

"That makes me feel good, because I don't want to be a victim of any of that,”

The school also plans to hold lock down drills in the spring, at both the El Dorado and Andover campuses.


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