The University of Missouri has installed a new beacon alert system on the Columbia campus to help students, faculty, and visitors know when there is an emergency. For instance, in the case of a weather emergency, violent individual threat, or fire, the siren and light on each beacon will be activated.
MU spokesperson Christian Basi says adding the 250 beacons is like adding another tool to MU’s safety tool box. “We want to be able to communicate to you as quickly as possible that there is an emergency on campus and you need to take preventative action and so this very public tool allows us to do that,” Basi says.
Basi says recent crimes have nothing to do with the installation of the system but rather that it is just a good time to get new technology on campus. The 250 ALERTUS beacons cost the school about $436,000. Basi says they will install more beacons as time progresses.
MU emergency management spokesperson Eric Evans says MU purchased the beacons because it thought there needed to be another way to communicate to people on campus. “It’s been growing over the years with problems at campuses,” says Evans, "so we felt that just having text; those types of things were not quite enough so we found a system that we liked and it’s been very effective at other universities so we made the investment and started the process."
Evans says he hopes MU does not have to use the system much but that officials will be prepared if or when it is used. If the beacon is activated, it will instruct the public to visit the website mualert.missouri.edu for more information.