Distinctive emergency phones installed

Devan C. Tasa, News Editor Ω

Those returning to TRU may have noticed the hard-to-miss yellow poles with blue lights placed in parking lots and along paths.

The poles contain state-of-the-art, emergency blue-light telephones, four of which have been installed on campus grounds over the summer holidays with another waiting to be added, said Warren Asuchak, the university’s assistant facilities director.

“It’s all about safety and making people feel comfortable about walking on campus,” he said. “We think they’re awesome.”

The distinct phones have few buttons, allowing easy access if somebody runs into trouble. They also indicate when something is wrong with a flashing blue light.

Each phone costs approximately $5,000, Asuchak said.

The first two phones were installed in Lot N, located behind TRU Residence and Conference Centre. Because the parking lot was in an outlying area, TRU administration was concerned about student safety.

“Security was really important to administration,” Asuchak said, “so they wanted to make sure we lit the lot very well so it has excellent lighting and we wanted to make sure the emergency phones were accessible.”

Those two phones sparked a reaction from TRUSU.

“We went to the institution and we said we’d like to see more of these high-tech phones and they listened,” said Dustin McIntyre, the students union’s president. “No one’s approached us [with concerns], but it’s better to be proactive than reactive on this.”

The students union identified more than 20 “great” locations, Asuchak said.

“We’re just going to work together with TRUSU to try to upgrade to these new phones,” he said.

After talking with TRUSU, the university purchased an additional three phones.

Two of those phones were installed in areas that have had increased foot traffic due to the expansion of the university. One was installed at the new bike rack located south of the Brown Family House of Learning, while the other is located in the Campus Commons near the International Building.

The remaining phone has yet to be installed. More phones will be brought as additional money and resources become available.

The emergency blue-light telephones are used on other campuses. There are 39 at Simon Fraser University and other campuses around the province have implemented similar safety measures.