Emergency alert system fails to work at Fresno City College

FRESNO, Calif.

Campus police said a new phone and PA system was installed at the beginning of the year to alert students when there's an emergency on campus. When they tested the system it worked, but when they tried to use it Monday they faced a number of problems.

"Regardless of whether no one was hurt or not, there was still guns on campus and I think that would freak you out considering the history of guns in schools," student John Rulloda said.

Students are outraged after the emergency alert system at Fresno City College failed to work and didn't immediately notify them of a shooting on campus.

"It happened around 11:30 or 11:40, something like that and I find out about it at 8:05 when I had class in this very building, it happened right here, walked past it to get to my car, all the commotion when I should have been inside," student Alisha Gutierrez said.

Campus advertises the 1st2know system to get students to sign up for text messaging. But when two gunmen fired shots in parking lot E Monday morning both it and the phone system the school use to broadcast information was hung up.

"The system was overlapping itself. And what it did was bounce back and forth between emails and texts so it was taking longer and as it was going through this list it was kind of interfering with itself," Campus Police Chief Bruce Hartman said.

Hartman said the first attempt to use InformaCast took place within 30 minutes of the incident and the texts within another half hour. Students said even that was too late and any information from a campus official would have been better sooner than later.

"We should have something. I don't care if it's the littlest thing," student Chenena Ward.

Several students said they found out about the shooting from the ABC30 breaking news alert, but would have preferred to hear from the campus as the incident was unfolding. Hartman said the phone system was fixed Tuesday, but the text system will need to be reevaluated. He said the other problem is only about 3,000 students are signed up which is only a fraction of the school population.

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