George Mason University in Northern Virginia will install the Global Security Systems Alert FM on its campus. It’s the first university to adopt the system, which uses the FM infrastructure.
The FM radio-based alert and messaging system will provide redundancy to the school’s emergency communications systems, according to GSS.
Alert FM allows authorized personnel to create and send alerts and messages to groups of first responders, students or campus buildings. Targeted alerts and messages are delivered by satellite to FM transmission towers and can be received on Alert FM receivers, wall units and other mobile devices, including PDAs, cell phones and other receivers equipped with FM chips.
The university will be initially covered by WETA(FM) in Washington to ensure distribution over a large geographical footprint, with the potential to reach 30,000 students and faculty at the university. Some 5,000 students live on the GMU campus.
The Alert FM portal allows an authorized user to manage the content being delivered, such as weather alerts and campus announcements.
While the university already has SMS and e-mail emergency notification in place, officials “were looking for multiple layers due to the vulnerability of SMS and email,” said Keith Bushey, George Mason vice president of special projects in the announcement.
GMU has also purchased portable Alert FM receivers, USB receivers and wall mount receivers capable of decoding emergency alerts and messages. The Alert FM wall receivers are designed for stationary mount in public locations, such as libraries, dormitories or classroom hallways.
The school plans to distribute receivers to the on-campus community first, including resident advisors and directors, Bushey said.