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If in Danger, Look for the Blue Lights

The new blue-light calling units, powered by the sun, are placed prominently around campus.

With the addition of 26 new emergency, “blue-light” calling units around campus, there are now nearly twice as many locations from which to quickly notify public safety personnel when needed.

The new calling units, which consist of two-way, push-button radios topped with bright blue lights, have been installed at various conspicuous locations around campus, including near Chapin Lawn and the athletic fields.

Ten additional units will be installed throughout the fall, according to Scott Graham, associate director of Public Safety.

The new emergency calling units are added to more than 30 blue-light telephones already on campus, said Graham, which were installed about 15 years ago and will remain.

The new units are self-contained devices, which require no wiring for power or telephone transmission. The units consist of two-way radios, and are simple to operate with the push of a button. They are powered by the use of solar panels, which fuel rechargeable batteries on each unit.

By contrast, the older emergency phones are conventional telephones with land lines and electrical power lines running underground.

More than 30 older blue-light telephones will remain.

When activated, the blue lights on the new emergency radios automatically begin to flash, adding visibility to the area.

“It was our intent with these new units to have emergency phones that are easy to spot, and easy to use,” said Graham.

The campus blue-light phones should only be used in case of an emergency, Graham emphasizes, not for routine calls to Public Safety.

But thanks to the new installations, there are now twice as many locations on campus from which to notify officers in the event that someone feels threatened, followed, or in danger.

8/20/08   Eric Sean Weld
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