Recently, we have had several phone calls to our apartments alerting us of situations on campus through the Swift Reach Network. This new system replaces the outdated speaker system that was used to alert residents of emergencies. It can send alerts campus-wide or to the specific area of an incident. The campus-wide power outage earlier last month brought several important items to our attention about using this new system effectively. Of primary importance is that the call line directory includes every resident in independent living and is up-to-date.

Swift Reach is the Charlestown automated phone system that sends recorded phone messages to all residents whose phone numbers are on record in the Resident Directory. If you are listed in the published Resident Directory with your correct phone number, you should be o.k. If you are not listed, you need to complete a Change Form and specify on the form for Swift Reach only. This will assure that you will not mistakenly be listed in the published Resident Directory. To assure an efficient and accurate system, every resident must be listed in the official, unpublished Resident Directory. If you are unsure of the status or accuracy of your information, check at your lobby desk.

During power outages, if your phone requires electricity IT WILL NOT WORK. Phones which are connected to a phone jack in the wall (Photo A), and do not require electricity to function, will work when the power is out.

Keeping a standard, corded phone (Photo B) available can be a lifeline, simply by hooking it up to a phone jack. If you need a corded phone, try local retail outlets such as Target, Office Depot or Walmart. Charlestown’s Treasure Chest, on the Terrace Level of Brookside, has a fluctuating supply available for around $4.

A fully charged cell phone will work during power outages. Residents may chose to list this number for “Swift Reach only”.

Wireless phones are powered by electricity and connected to your phone outlet and will not work, as the unit that plugs into the phone socket (the base station), also needs power to operate and does not have a battery backup (Photo C).

Photo A

Photo B

Photo C

In case you do not hear the Swift Reach message in its entirety, or your voice mail message was cut off, call the Alert Line 410-314-7944 to hear the message. If you learn later that there was a Swift Reach Alert and your phone records indicate you did not get the call, you may contact General Services to have them verify if the call was made and which phone number of yours was dialed.

Note: One important preparedness step is to put together an old-fashioned contact book so when your cell phone is drained of power you have phone numbers for loved ones available for you too.

Charlie Eichenlaub
Communications Committee