Your cell phone buzzes at 5:45am and you check your new text message. New River is not opening until 10am. No eight o’clock class today! You roll over and happily go back to sleep.
A couple of years ago this scenario would not have been possible. Students and staff had to get this information from a radio, a TV or the Internet. The ongoing implementation of the Emergency Alert System has made this convenience a reality for anyone who signs up for the service.
This fall, New River Community College began offering text and e-mail alerts to all faculty, staff and students that sign up for the service via the college website. According to Dr. Mark Rowh, Chairman of the Emergency Preparedness Team, teams of faculty, staff and students are in place now, reviewing policies and procedures to help keep everyone on campus safe in case of an emergency.
The tragedy at Virginia Tech in April 2007 resulted in many colleges and universities re-examining their abilities to respond to a catastrophe. New policies regarding getting information out in a timely manner became a priority and a variety of systems have emerged on the market to provide this service.
New River began the process this fall with the implementation of the text and e-mail alerts. The phone system is being updated to provide an intercom capability so announcements can be made throughout the buildings and flat panel monitors will soon be installed in high traffic areas all over both campuses to provide rolling messages.
Emergencies come in a variety of forms and range from weather related announcements to sightings of a gunman on campus. Informing as many people as possible as quickly as possible is crucial to protecting the staff and students. Signing up for the e-mail and/or the text message alerts is the first step in staying informed.