In an ongoing effort to improve campus safety and security, 145 new indoor emergency phones are being installed on Virginia Tech’s Blacksburg, Virginia, campus this summer. The phones are small blue call boxes with two-way speakers that are mounted to walls in central building locations. Individuals are connected with an emergency dispatcher within seconds of pressing the button on the device.

“These phones help improve safety by providing our community of students, employees, and visitors with immediate access to the police department in an emergency,” said Virginia Tech Police Chief Kevin Foust. “While most people carry cell phones, we know that they are not always reliable or easy to access in an emergency.”

More than 100 of the emergency phones have already been installed and work will continue this summer to install phones in East Eggleston, Owens, Price, Patton, Saunders, and Hutcheson halls and Southgate Center, Wright House, Power House, and the indoor tennis courts. When completed, many of the university’s academic and administrative buildings, as well as all residence halls will have emergency phones.

“The addition of these phones strengthens our emergency communications by providing yet another option for connecting with emergency services,” said Michael Mulhare, director of emergency management. “Now, even if there is no cell phone service or electrical power in a building, community members can still place a call.”

There are also more than 100 blue light emergency phones located outdoors on campus. These phones also allow individuals to communicate directly with the police department and are equipped with flashing blue light at the top of the phone pedestal that is activated when the button is pressed for help. A list of outdoor blue light emergency phone locations is available online and in the LiveSafe mobile safety app.