The emergency poles, also known as the “big-blue poles,” all around the BYU-Idaho campus are being taken down. These poles were placed on campus before cell phones were popular, and even then, the poles were only used a handful of times.
The emergency poles are being taken down on campus because the cost of maintenance is high and the software for each emergency pole costs thousands of dollars, according to the BYU-I security department.
In addition to the lack of use and extreme cost, when the server for the BYU-I emergency poles crashed, the University weighed out the option to either keep or get rid of them.
Stephen Bunnell, the BYU-I Public Safety director said, BYU-I campus security spent “hundreds of hours chasing fake emergencies caused by people bumping into the buttons on the poles. It made more sense to get rid of the polls, rather than keep them around.”
Even though the emergency poles are being removed; there are several other ways to stay safe on campus.
BYU-I keeps phones in the elevators that students can use in an emergency and in housing. BYU-I also has an automatic app that sends out texts to all students informing them of emergency updates or messages, called Everbridge; it is an app that allows the campus security department to send out mass text messages to all the students in case of an emergency.
“The participation of students signing up for this app is in the high nineties and it is lower in cost,” Bunnell said.
There are other apps students can use to feel safe on campus that BYU-I has not adopted yet. Bunnell believes that only a certain amount of students will download the app and that after a few weeks, students would end up deleting the app.
Other apps different schools have adopted, according to the Mobile Safety Apps’ website, include: Rave, Live Safe and Watch Over Me.
US News rated BYU-I as the thirteenth safest campus in the regional conference west.
“If there is one thing I could inform students on campus, it would be to lock their doors and protect their belongings,” Bunnell said.
Staying safe on campus is important. Each and every person on campus need to take proper safety precautions.