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Upper Iowa University Partners With Northern Ireland Firm On Revolutionary Installation To Enhance Safety On Fayette Campus

BELFAST, Northern Ireland, May 13, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Upper Iowa University (UIU) President Alan G. Walker has announced that UIU will be working with a Belfast, Northern Ireland firm, Lightstep Technologies, on an installation to enhance safety on the UIU campus in the United States in a project that will be the first of its kind in the United States and the first installation on any university campus around the world.

Walker joined Lightstep Executive Chairman Kieran Patterson, founder and executive chairman of Lightstep Technologies, to announce the joint initiative in Belfast, Northern Ireland, on Friday, May 13.  

Lightstep Technologies is the creator of what is billed as the world's first intelligent evacuation system.  In a building equipped with Lightstep, escape routes are automatically illuminated and automatically rerouted as necessary depending on the type of emergency and location of the damage and/or fire. Not only is the safe escape route illuminated clearly in green, the unsafe routes are clearly crossed out with a red "X" so that occupants of the building can be evacuated more quickly without mistakes that cause injuries and cost lives. The lights remain clearly visible in smoke-filled environments.

"My background is in fire safety, and I knew immediately that UIU had to explore acquiring this technology," Walker said. "In any fire, the key issue is always time.  How quickly can you completely evacuate the building safely?  The same is true for a building affected by any natural disaster. "

Patterson, who invented the path-finding technology, said he founded Lightstep in response to well-publicized disasters that resulted in major loss of life. "This will be the company's first installation in the States and a huge opportunity for all involved," Patterson said. " Upper Iowa University will become a showcase for Lightstep in the United States, and the system will elevate the UIU student facilities to the safest available worldwide."

"This technology addresses the needs of rural, residential campuses like UIU just as effectively as it addresses evacuation in an urban office high-rise," Walker said.  "Universities like ours not only need to deal with potential daytime evacuation, but how to safely guide our students out of residence halls in the middle of the night as well.  We believe all residential campuses should be exploring the Lightstep options to enhance campus safety, and we are proud to be the first University in the world to begin this work."

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