Cal Poly will begin broadcasting advisory and traffic information on AM 1610 beginning Open House Weekend.

The AM Alert System will be used by the University Police Department (UPD) to provide information and updates in the event of emergencies that occur on campus or affect the campus community. It will also advise the community of traffic and parking issues or changes.

Lorri Hashim, UPD commander, said the department takes frequent phone calls about traffic and event parking, and hopes it will make their job a little easier.

“This has just been an additional tool really,” Hashim said. “Mostly, it will be used to alert people of events.”

The station, which is the first of its kind in San Luis Obispo County, will have a broadcast range of approximately 2.5 miles, allowing community members and visitors to hear traffic and advisory information on and around campus.

“We are thrilled with this new tool because it will help us provide traffic and emergency information to our local community and visitors quickly and effectively,” said Bill Watton, Cal Poly’s interim police chief.

The UPD currently uses the telephone system to alert people on campus in case of an emergency.

“We needed a way to communicate other than through e-mail or telephone in case of local emergencies,” said Cindy Campbell, associate director for UPD.

A test broadcast is already in place on AM 1610 and UPD expects the station to officially start broadcasting Thursday.

UPD is placing temporary signs on city streets near campus to alert drivers to tune in to AM 1610 for traffic and advisory updates during Open House, Campbell said. They plan to post permanent signs on U.S. Highway 101 and at various entrances to campus as soon as they can get them made.

The new alert system allows UPD to create prepared messages to provide basic information for parking, traffic and in the event of a number of different emergencies, as well as updates, “as the situation warrants,” Campbell said.

The station will be used for information and advisories only; advertising and campus news will not be broadcast.

The AM Alert System was purchased with money provided to the university by a grant from National Homeland Security.

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