Wyoming College Installs Emergency Beacons

Wyoming College Installs Emergency Beacons

“We placed them so that wherever you’re out on campus, for the most part, on the main walking corridors, you can see one,” said Kent Anderson, assistant vice president for facilities management.

Four new emergency beacons were installed at Sheridan College during the first week of the year as a campus safety measure.

The beacons, often called blue lights, are made of stainless steel and stand about 12 feet tall. The “blue light” nickname comes from the blue lights on top of the structure that make them easier to locate.

“We placed them so that wherever you’re out on campus, for the most part, on the main walking corridors, you can see one,” said Kent Anderson, assistant vice president for facilities management. “…We put them by major gathering spaces as well, so each of the main parking lots … Once we get some stuff in Gillette, then we’ll probably start to expand a little bit more.”

Emergency beacons have a button in the middle of the structure that, when pressed, dials 911 and also alerts Sheridan College Police. The system alerts 911 dispatch of the location from which the call is coming, sending out a GPS signal location for the pushed button. According to Sheridan College Police chief Jason Velta, the beacons will be numbers one through four to let responders know where to go to help.

The effort to add beacons to campus was led by the Sheridan College Police Department. Vela said he researched the model and design he wanted and found a local contractor who could install the beacons.

Vela said the main priority for the first four beacons was to help employees, but there may be more lights installed later. He said the school had considered adding them for a few years, but needed to find the funds and the right time.

According to Vela, the blue light beacons are another tool to supplement safety and response time on campus, in addition to the mass notification app already in use.

“It was more cost effective for us to go immediately with the app first,” Vela said.

Ideally, the beacons will serve as another way to contact law enforcement. For those on campus who don’t have smartphones and can’t use the mass notification app, the beacons should help with that.

The beacons do not have cameras installed, but Vela said he would support that endeavor in the future.

According to Vela, the next step in the campus security plan is likely the installation of more video surveillance in parking lots and residence hall entrances.

About the Author

Jessica Davis is the Associate Content Editor for 1105 Media.

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