SRU expands campus emergency call box coverage


One of the newly installed emergency call boxes in the Smith Student Center

The Slippery Rock University Office of Emergency Management is leading an initiative to place emergency call boxes inside all campus buildings by summer 2020.

Nov. 11, 2019

SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. — The Slippery Rock University Office of Emergency Management is leading an initiative to expand coverage of emergency call boxes inside all campus buildings by summer 2020. The wall-mounted boxes provide immediate two-way communication between the caller and a dispatcher from University Police. The call boxes activate with a single push of a button.

"We're upgrading the technology and expanding the coverage on campus for the purpose of emergency communication so that responders can address incidents as timely as possible," said Paul Novak, executive director of planning and environmental health and safety. "Yes, everyone has cell phones nowadays, but the call boxes provide additional coverage for people who cannot access their cell phone or do not know the number for University Police."

University Police can be contacted by phone at 724.738.3333 or by dialing 3333 from any campus phone.

The initiative by OEM is part of a three-phase project. Phase one, replacing Metis Alert systems in 15 campus buildings, was recently completed. In phase two, all remaining academic, administrative and auxiliary buildings will have new call boxes installed before the start of the spring 2020 semester. Phase three call for the installation of call boxes in all residence halls during the summer of 2020.

"The idea is to put the call boxes in consistent locations in the buildings so people will notice them when they enter," Novak said. "We're putting them near entrances and elevators or at opposite ends of stairwells."

After all phases are completed, there will be 161 call boxes across campus with at least one in every building. The new call boxes are wall-mounted with a silver face plate, blue border, red button and "EMERGENCY" in red letters.

"We're always looking for improvements to the way people reach out to us when there are emergencies," said Kevin Sharkey, acting chief of University Police. "We are ahead of the game in terms of safety and this adds another layer of emergency communication to the campus."

Sharkey said that the call boxes can be used to alert police dispatch to an emergency even if the person who presses the button cannot speak. He said that people should use the call boxes for all incidents including fire, medical or suspected criminal activity.

In addition to indoor call boxes, SRU's campus is equipped with several outdoor emergency "blue light phones," located on light posts marked "EMERGENCY", which are stationed along walkways and near campus parking lots.

All emergencies on campus should be reported to University Police by calling 724.738.3333, dialing 3333 from any campus phone or using the call boxes. Persons calling 911 should tell the responding dispatcher to report the emergency to the Slippery Rock University Police for the quickest response time.

For more information about the call boxes, contact Novak at or 724.738.2465.

MEDIA CONTACT: Justin Zackal | 724.738.4854 |