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Emergency blue light poles offer direct line to security

By Denny West
On December 3, 2018

Familiar to most students at Kirkwood Community College are the Blue Light Emergency Phones that are scattered throughout the campus. 

In a time when security is more important than ever, students are encouraged to find out exactly how they can be used. 

Liberal Arts freshman Teressa Truempler said, “You can call campus security or emergency services if you feel unsafe.” 

First, the locations of the Blue Light Emergency Phones, based on a paper map located across from the Social Services office in Cedar Hall, as well as the map that can be found on the Kirkwood website, were checked. 

Of the 14 emergency phones on the locater map, only 11 were found to exist. Phones marked at the Automotive Technologies building, Linn Hall facing the bookstore and The Heritage Agency on Aging are no longer available.  

All available phones had their lights working and had dial tones. Once finding the locations and seeing if the phones were active, next was to talk to security to see how they are maintained and about their proper usage. 

According to Melissa Jensen, senior director of Campus Security, a preventative maintenance worker from Kirkwood checks each emergency phone once per month and any problems are fixed immediately.  

When looking at the board on a Blue Emergency Phone one will see a keyboard and a button on the top right to access an outside line. 

These were checked and the ability to call outside was accurate. Jensen said that these are not the intent of the phones and most people use  their cell phones when needing to make regular calls. 

The button on the lower right, which is red and labeled EMERGENCY, has the instructions EMERGENCY 911 CALLS ONLY PRESS BUTTON. This, Jensen said, takes callers directly to Campus Security and not to the national 911 emergency line.

The  Campus  Security  web  page,  under  Reduce  Your  Risk,  states,  “The  phones  allow  one  button  emergency  voice  connection  to  911  and  campus  security.”    

For  verification  on  this,  Tom  Campbell,  Campus  Security  coordinator,  demonstrated how the emergency phones operate.    After  pressing  the  emergency  button,  it  immediately  rang  on  a  cell  phone  he  carried.    It  showed  the  location  where  the  call  was  made,  the  blue  light  began  to  flash  on  and  off  and   response  was  immediate.    

When  asked  what  happens  after  regular  Campus  Security  office  hours,  Campbell  reiterated  that  security  was  on  campus  24  hours  a  day  seven  days  a  week  and  someone  would  always  be there  to  answer  the  call.  According to the Campus Security website some ways to stay safe are never walk alone, be aware of surroundings and if you see something, say something. For more information go to www.kirkwood.edu/security.

One of Kirkwood’s Emergency Courtesy Phones, which are located around campus. 
PHOTO BY JEFF SIGMUND.

 

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