Students signing up for summer classes at Mesalands Community College are the first to participate in the college’s new emergency alert system, said Aaron Kennedy, dean of student services.
All the students have to provide is their cell phone numbers and email addresses.
If there is an emergency situation, the alert system contacts staff and students by email, text message to their cell phones, voice mail alert and student information system TV monitors on campus.
The college is also installing an intercom phone alert in each classroom, Kennedy said.
The system is currently set up to tell staff and students, “This is a message from the Mesalands Community College Alert System. Remain in a locked classroom.”
But it can also provide other timely information and instruction during a time of emergency, according to the alert system guide.
At a recent demonstration of the system, messages took less than minute to arrive at cell phones, TV monitors and email.
The system cost $2,000 to install and $100 per month to maintain, Kennedy said.
Immediately after the Virginia Tech shootings Gov. Bill Richardson convened a Campus Safety Task Force, the first of any state in the nation, Kennedy said.
Sadly, the shootings have prompted many educational institutions to install such systems, said Kennedy, who serves on the task force’s safety accreditation subcommittee.