College campuses go mobile to alert students in an emergency

By Eric

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) -- In response to Tuesday's shooting at Coastal Carolina University, alert messages went out to all{}students and faculty. Residence halls were also put on lockdown.

ABC News 4 checked what the procedures would be across campuses in the Charleston area.

Most universities have an instant alert system to notify campuses in the event of an emergency, and it's something students do appreciate and depend on.

Charleston area{}campuses were reminded to be vigilant and ready in the event of a worst-case scenario.

"Everyone on campus who receives the Bulldog message would be told in that circumstance that they should shelter in place, stay where they are, lock their doors and wait for the next message," said Jeff Perez, the vice president of external affairs at The Citadel.

Perez says the military college has had an email and text alert system in place since 2008. Messages are sent out to the entire campus with instructions, depending on the scenario.

The shooting at Coastal Carolina would have triggered a message from the alert system.

"We want cadets and their families to know that we're only going to use that system in an emergency," Perez said.

The Citadel has used its alert only twice in four years.

The College of Charleston has a similar system called Cougar Alert{}that's used on a more frequent basis.

"We get texts, emails, our parents get notified, they get emails," said student, Jess Stambelu.

"You can get that hooked up to your phone these days so you can get instantaneous information," Drew Guffey said.

According to students, the college updates them on crimes committed both on and off campus{}in cases involving guns.

It's a type of incident all administrators hope to avoid.

"You can never be 100 percent secure but we're doing what we can to keep our campus a safe place to live, learn and work," said Perez.

The campuses also have their versions of alarms, signs and sirens in the case of an emergency.

Charleston Southern University has an alert system as well, called the Buc Alert system. Students receive messages by text, email and phone.