Phone system installation

Expected to be ready for use by Spring 2014

A new emergency telephone system is soon to be implemented at all schools in the Contra Costa Community College District.

The new system, to be implemented and ready for use at Los Medanos College by Spring 2014, will replace the existing phones on campus and will allow direct calls to faculty and staff, replacing the current way of having to dial the current campus number and their respective extensions.

According to Los Medanos College President Bob Kratochvil, the new system is already in process of being installed.

“The District has been working for some time on implementation of a new phone system for the district office and the three colleges,” said Kratochvil. “The District office and DVC (Diablo Valley College) have completed their stage of the implementation, while CCC (Contra Costa College) will be switching over to the new phone system during the weekend of October 26, 2013.”

One new feature of the new telephone system will allow selected employees on campus to have the ability to “broadcast” a message to all phones on campus. Depending on the severity of the emergency situation, this could prove to be a very valuable asset in the wake of a serious situation.

While plans do not call for installing new phones in each and every classroom, replacement of all existing phones would be made, pending the availability of funds.

“Additional funding would need to be identified for additional phones either in classrooms or hallways,” said Kratochvil. “On the other hand, there are other technologies that need to be explored as to the best communication mechanisms made available to faculty, staff, and students in the event of an emergency. One example is the 4CD Alert system, which provides notification about emergencies via e-mail or text.”

The 4CD Alert system which is administered by the Contra Costa Community College District Police Department, is a free service that the District may use to send alerts to cell phones, email accounts, smart phones, or other handheld devices in the wake of an emergency near any one of its campuses. Installed in 2008, the 4CD Alert system also includes sirens to alert those near its campuses. While it is used regularly to conduct drills and tests, the sirens have yet to be put to use in a crisis situation. Police Services on each college campus have been trained and can activate the sirens if necessary.

“Sirens alone are not going to make our employees and students safe,” said Contra Costa Community College District Director of Communications Tim Leong. “But it is one of the steps we can take. Training and exercises on what to do and where to go are very important steps we are taking.”

Furthermore, Leong also added that the District is looking into a robust system to utilize text messaging to communicate information as needed in the event of a crisis.

A campus-wide meeting will be held on Monday, October 21 in room L109 from 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. to discuss this new telephone system, as well as campus safety and emergency preparedness. In addition, attendees can also expect to learn ways on how faculty, staff, and students can be better informed and educated about emergency situations.

“I’m hopeful to have more routine communication provided to the campus community from our District Police Department,” said Kratochvil. “The Police staff has welcomed the opportunity to make our campus better aware of safety measures and emergency procedures. In addition, as noted in the attached e-mail, the campus’ Safety Committee has been reactivated and is working on several important safety and emergency preparedness issues.

According to President Kratochvil, the implementation of the new phone system and Monday’s meeting is not related to any isolated issue or occurrence, rather, it is simply to inform and prepare the college should an emergency occur.

“(It) is intended to make sure we have appropriate protocols in place and are prepared as best we can for emergency situations.” Said Kratochvil.

More information about the 4CD Alert system can be found at (