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17 Virginia Colleges Launch Roam Secure for Emergency Notification

Seventeen Virginia community colleges have signed on to run Roam Secure Alert Network for emergency notification, joining Northern Virginia Community College, which launched its system in August 2007. Through Roam Secure, campus safety employees can send alerts via email, text and voice messaging, and other delivery channels to the campus community.

Each campus launched Roam Secure independently. Parents, alumni and friends of the university can also sign up for the service at no charge by visiting each corresponding school Web site. Five other colleges in the Virginia Community College System (VCCS) have pre-existing contracts with other providers.

"The launch of the emergency notification system fulfills one of the recommendations called for in the report of the Chancellor's Emergency Preparedness Task Force report," said Neil Matkin, vice chancellor for VCCS. The report was endorsed by the Community College Board in January.

In a statement, the company said its web-based alert system supports 18,000 messages per minute and automatically delivers real-time information and alerts to email, pagers, cell phones, BlackBerry, desktops, voice calls and indoor and outdoor speakers. Alerts can be generated from a single web interface, or using a mobile device.

Alerts can be sent to each campus using its individual notification systems, and information can be shared automatically with all the participating colleges within the community college system via an exchange service. The deployments will also be integrated with 30 existing Roam Secure systems at major cities, counties and other colleges in Virginia that are connected via RSIX, a Roam Secure network, and the Virginia Statewide Alerting Network (SWAN). The Virginia Department of Emergency Management manages the SWAN, which was the first statewide alert and information sharing system deployed in the United States.

The VCCS includes 23 colleges on 40 campuses located throughout the state. This year, the VCCS has an enrollment of more than 240,000 students.

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a former senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal, Campus Technology and Spaces4Learning.

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