Telephone-based emergency alert system falters during accident

Firefighters respond to a chemical spill at ISB on campus Jan. 30. (Photo by Tim Brown)

Firefighters respond to a chemical spill at ISB on campus Jan. 30. (Photo by Tim Brown)

The Conoco Phillips Integrated Science building was evacuated Wednesday afternoon, because of a chemical spill.

Calcium carbide, which was accidently combined with water, can be harmful if inhaled.

The calcium carbonide spill also posed a potential explosion and flash fire risk, according to Haz Mat One Captain Kevin Wallace.

No individuals were injured as a result of the spill.

After the incident, the University Police Department issued a warning through its emergency alert system, which overrides campus telephones and issues warnings about emergencies on campus.

According to officer badge #240, all phones are connected to the system and should have issued the alert.

However, there were some phones in the Professional Studies Building that did not voice Wednesday’s alert.

When asked why this happened, officer #240 was unaware that some phones did not issue the alert.

Joshua Blackwell, an IT Call Center technician, said, “We do know of some phones that are not broadcasting.”

He also said the majority of phones on campus have been added to the alert system, but any that are not functioning properly can be corrected manually if the extensions for the phones are provided to IT services.

If anyone is aware of a phone that does not properly issue a UPD emergency intercom alert, notify IT services at 907-786-4646.

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