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Binghamton University To Improve Emergency Alerts Speed

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VESTAL, N.Y. -

In the wake of the fatal on-campus stabbing of Binghamton University freshman Joao Souza, the school is installing a new emergency alert system which would issue text and email alerts within seconds.

"Will put out messages a little generic in nature, saying we're aware of something going on that's a concern, we want to get that out as quickly as possible. And we'll follow-up immediately as soon as we have more details," says Dave Hubeny, Executive Director of the Office of Emergency Management on campus.

This was one of the initiatives outlined in a statement from President Harvey Stenger in April following the stabbing. The new alert system, which should be up and running by the end of the summer, would generate alerts at the push of a button, whereas the current system requires multiple phone calls before a message can be sent out. Hubeny says the current system can take anywhere between five and ten minutes. The night Souza was killed, it took 45 minutes for the first alert to go out.

"In an emergency, it's critical that we get that message out as quickly as possible," says Hubeny.

On Tuesday, the campus tested all the safety systems in place. That includes sirens, text and email alerts, and emergency messages on campus signs and TVs.

"We want to make sure every system, every component of that system is working," says Hubeny.

The university is also working on ways to make it easier for parents to get emergency information. One system already in place is a phone line that can be called with a recording giving updates. Parents can be signed up for text alerts by their students, but the university is looking at easier methods to get them subscribed.