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The newspaper of The Johns Hopkins University September 15, 2008 | Vol. 38 No. 3
Homewood Emergency System to be Tested; Weekly Patrols Begin

By Greg Rienzi
The Gazette

On Tuesday, Johns Hopkins will take two more significant steps — one high-tech and one old school — in the ongoing effort to improve the safety and security of the Homewood campus and its environs.

At 1 p.m. that day, Campus Safety and Security will conduct a test of the new Homewood Siren/Public Address System and the Johns Hopkins Emergency Alerts text messaging system. The test will be the first full-scale simultaneous activation of both systems.

The siren system, which is activated by radio signal from the Homewood Communications Center, is composed of modules on Garland Hall, Whitehead Hall and the O'Connor Recreation Center. The sirens will simultaneously sound the alert tone and then sequentially broadcast the voice message.

There will be a 30-second alert tone immediately followed by a voice broadcast announcing, "This is a test of the Homewood campus emergency warning system."

Those who have subscribed to the text alert system will receive a brief message on their cell phones that reads, "This is a test of the Homewood Johns Hopkins Emergency Alerts text message system. There is NO emergency at this time."

Shortly after this broadcast, an all-clear alert tone will sound, followed by the message saying, in part, "This has been a test of the Homewood campus emergency warning system. Had there been an actual emergency, you would have been given specific instructions on what to do."

Because the system incorporates a silent self-test feature that will exercise each module on a weekly basis, Campus Safety and Security expects to run "live" tests only three times a year. The main purpose of the exercises is to familiarize the Homewood community with the sound of the system. Except for these periodic tests, the system will be used only in the event of an incident or situation that presents a significant threat to the lives or safety of the campus community.

On Tuesday evening, beginning at 7:30 p.m., the JHU cohort of Charles Village Neighborhood Walkers on Patrol will get a major boost of manpower as representatives from fraternities, sororities, athletic teams and other entities will be out and about in blue T-shirts and yellow hats. Patricia C. Jessamy, Baltimore City state's attorney; Susan Boswell, dean of student life; Tom Calder, director of athletics; and Maj. Ross Buzzuro, of the Baltimore City police, will join the Johns Hopkins University Neighborhood Walkers on Patrol that evening, meeting at the corner of North Charles and 31st streets. The Johns Hopkins group will walk Tuesday nights throughout the year.

Charles Village Neighborhood Walkers on Patrol took its first steps in March, putting feet on the streets during evening hours. The effort pulled together area stakeholders including the Charles Village Benefits District (which oversees the effort), Charles Village Civic Association, Greater Homewood Community Corp., Union Memorial Hospital and The Johns Hopkins University.

By being a visible presence, Neighborhood Walkers acts as a crime deterrent. The group also aims to stop crime before it happens. Patrolling the streets, walkers look for and learn about vulnerable spots — open windows, improperly installed gates, cars with visible personal belongings, areas where people can hide — so that they can ratchet up their own safety.

Johns Hopkins aims to get its whole community involved, and in April took on Tuesday nights. The JHU group is supervised by Edmund Skrodzki, executive director of safety and security on the Homewood campus.


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