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speaker array
Mock-up of how a Giant Voice speaker array could look on a generic
university campus

UTSA to enhance public safety with launch of outdoor notification system

By Tim Brownlee
Assistant Director of Public Affairs

(July 1, 2008)--UTSA will launch in September an indoor and outdoor mass notification system at the 1604 Campus to augment UTSA's emergency notification system. Called Giant Voice, the system will feature four outdoor speaker arrays that will deliver recorded or live voice announcements that optimally can be heard within 1,600 feet of each speaker array.

In an emergency, the high-power speaker arrays will broadcast a siren alert followed by a live or recorded voice message tailored to the situation. The system will have the capability to alert the entire campus or smaller areas, depending upon the scope of the emergency.

To prepare the UTSA and surrounding communities for system testing, the university will work with apartment complexes, neighborhood associations, businesses, media outlets, the San Antonio Office of Emergency Management and other officials to provide information on the new system and an installation and testing timetable.

"UTSA is building a rigorous, multi-layered and multifaceted notification system," said Donovan Agans, UTSA director of business continuity and emergency management, a component of the UTSA Police Department. "Our Reverse 911, Giant Voice, closed-circuit TV and the Internet are all facets of an intensive effort to ensure UTSA has multiple ways to inform students, faculty, staff and visitors of emergency situations. We are not relying on any one means to inform our community of a crisis."

The system also will be integrated wirelessly into existing building voice-alert fire alarms. As additional buildings are equipped with voice fire alarms, they will be integrated into Giant Voice. Research also is underway on systems appropriate for the UTSA Downtown Campus and UTSA's Institute of Texan Cultures.

"Because of the broadcast range of Giant Voice, it is the right choice for the 1604 Campus," said Agans. "We will plan for appropriate and effective systems for the Downtown Campus and ITC that do not unnecessarily disrupt surrounding neighborhoods and businesses."

UTSA officials selected Cooper Notification, part of Cooper Industries Ltd., to install the WAVES (Wireless Audio Visual Emergency System). The company provides critical, campus-wide emergency communications for universities across the United States including George Mason University, James Madison University, University of California-Santa Barbara, several University of Maryland campuses, University of New Hampshire and University of Southern California.

For more information, visit the UTSA Police Department Office of Business Continuity and Emergency Management Web site or call (210) 458-6851.

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