To ensure the safety of students, faculty and staff, Polk State College (Polk State), a multi-campus college of over 20,000 students in Florida, is implementing a mass notification system to provide important alert notifications as they happen and allow those on campus to easily report suspicious and dangerous activity or call for help.

After downloading the emergency notification app from Everbridge to their smart phones, all active students and employees receive alerts automatically. Notifications are sent in the event of inclement weather, natural disasters or other unforeseen and immediate conditions that may affect the health and safety of students or employees. Alerts will also be sent if emergencies or dangerous situations occur on campus that involve an immediate threat to students’ or employees’ health or safety.

The app includes a panic feature that allows students and employees to report a suspicious incident or call for help. Users can push an “Emergency” panic button on their phones, which calls 911 and alerts security, allowing college and law enforcement personnel to respond to their location.

“That’s a key safety feature,” says Robert Stack, Polk State’s Chief Information Officer. “From anywhere on campus, whether that be a parking lot or a stairwell, it alerts security to the location and serves as an immediate call for help.”

Another feature is the “Non-Emergency” button, which calls the Polk State Security Dispatch desk. This would be used in cases where the user was not in danger but had a need like help with car trouble or access to a building.

Polk State will continue to use traditional methods such as the college website and social media platforms to help keep students, faculty and staff informed and safe.