Rapid Communication System Coming to Passavant Retirement Community

Published: Tuesday, November 19, 2013

A new mass alert system for independent living residents at Passavant Retirement Community will allow for much more timely notification in the event of an emergency on campus or in the surrounding community.

Vblaster uses cell phones, home phones or email to communicate with a large number of people simultaneously. Useful applications could include weather alerts, health alerts, police and fire emergency information, campus facility closures, road closings, transportation schedule changes and more.

“In case of such an emergency, these residents in Wittenberg Place, Luther Court, the cottages, manor homes and villas will get immediate notification. It will only take about two minutes to get the pre-recorded message, text or email to everyone,” said Sharon Whalen, technology associate for Lutheran SeniorLife.

For example, if a dangerous thunderstorm or snowstorm is approaching, residents can be notified through the Vblaster system so they can stay safely indoors until the storm passes. Or residents can be made aware of campus road closures or bus schedule changes so that they can plan accordingly. “Residents won’t have to standing outside waiting for a bus that may be running late, or struggle to navigate roads that are closed because of construction,” Whalen said.

Whalen said the Vblaster system will only be used for independent living residents, as there is already an emergency notification system in place for the nursing and personal care residents.

In the coming months, Vblaster will also be used for non-emergency mass communication. Phase II will include messages such as group and activity reminders and cancellations, or planned interruptions in utility service. These messages can be sent to specified groups of people in a pre-set list of residents to whom the message applies.

Phase III is an information service which will allow residents to call to find out about daily menus, classes and activities. This phase, Whalen said, is solely for information purposes to help residents plan their day.

“Our old system was fairly antiquated and by the time the last person was being notified, the emergency was over,” said Laura Roy, executive director of Passavant Retirement Community. “The Vblaster system will allow us to quickly notify our residents of information that they need and will eventually give them quick access to information like dinner menus, program updates and more. I believe our residents are looking forward to more timely notification, as are we. It’s one more way for us to better support them and give them opportunities for an Abundant Life®.”

Unified Alerts, the manufacturer of Vblaster, is a partner with Lutheran SeniorLife in the Faith Based Network, a business alliance of faith-based organizations that work in collaboration to create high value business solutions. “As such, Unified Alerts is waiving much of the cost of the Vblaster system for Passavant Retirement Community,” Whalen explained. “The Vblaster will help us further ensure the safety of our independent living residents on campus, allowing them to continue to live their abundant lives.”

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