At UCLA we used to tell researchers to dial 911 on campus phones rather than cell phones since the former went to a UCLA emergency operator while the later went to the California Highway Patrol. However, cell phone GPS is now better tied to 911 calls so calling 911 on a cell phone while on campus goes to the campus dispatcher.
Instructions for emergency calls are posted at:
Professor of Chemistry, UCLA Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry
Executive Director, UC Center for Laboratory Safety
Los Angeles, CA 90095-1569
We have a dedicated 'campus emergency' phone number (x800) that goes directly to Campus Safety Dispatch (our officers) and they have a direct line to fire/police/ambulance/etc. We tell students (and faculty and staff) to call x800 for lab emergencies like chemical spills/exposure, medical incidents and to report a fire that has gone out. This is especially helpful in laboratory situations, where there is a campus phone in every lab, and our officers are aware of building layout. Not all labs have good cell phone reception and calling over WIFI can be problematic, but the 'direct dial' number for Campus Safety is also provided to the students during lab safety training and they're encouraged to put it in their cell phone contacts.
Our ITS group (who manages the phone system) is concerned with compliance with the federal regulation known commonly as "Kari's Law", which requires all phones to be able to dial 911 directly. Our campus phones currently connect directly to the appropriate Public Safety Answer Point (PSAP) which for us is Northampton dispatch and so are in compliance. However, the vendor for the phone system and a consultant are concerned that the continued use of 800 as a substitute for 911 and being directed to Campus Safety could be interpreted as circumventing the spirit of the law (since if directed to call 800 in an emergency it is essentially functioning as 911).
My questions are:
1) Do you currently have a 'campus emergency ' number that goes directly to your Public Safety/Campus Police dispatch/office?
2) If 'No" and your protocol is to call 911 for your PSAP, is the response to laboratory emergencies handled differently than say the response to dormitory issues? You don't have to give a long answer here unless you want to--I will likely be in touch later wanting lots of details...
3) If "Yes" to #1, do you anticipate discontinuing the use of your internal "campus emergency' number to be in compliance with Kari's Law? Are you concerned about 911 response to specific issues, such as laboratory emergencies?
4) If you will CONTINUE to use your internal 'campus emergency' number, what are your reasons for doing so?
Please feel free to contact me offline if it's easier--I am happy to compile anonymous results if requested...
Margaret A. Rakas, Ph.D.
Lab Safety & Compliance Director
Clark Science Center
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