University's MN drill attracts others

CooperNotification, The Protection Bureau team on mass notification project in Pa.
Tuesday, September 1, 2009

MILLERSVILLE, Pa.--On Sept. 8 Millersville University here will test its newly upgraded mass notification system.

"People from other colleges and universities will attend to see the demo and it will serve as a drill for the faculty and students who will have just returned," said Debbie Jackman, director of business development for The Protection Bureau, which worked with Cooper Notification on the project.

The university had previously installed CooperNotification's  WAVES for broadcasting messages outdoors. After a recent assessment of the schools' emergency notification needs, the school decision to switch its campus text message and emergency email service to Cooper's Roam Secure Alert Network. Both of these systems can now be activated from one user interface.

RSAN and WAVES were originally separate companies and many former customers are deciding to upgrade their systems to include both. Ned Ingraham, vice president homeland security services for Cooper Notification, said that integrating the systems together with a single point of operation is "far more time efficient. It saves time and lives."

"It is far easier to launch, from a single platform, all of your various means of notification ... the single interface allows the emergency management personnel to activate any or all notification systems in a given location or specified location."

 The end user can use the RSAN interface or WAVES interfaces depending upon their needs and what they're accustomed to. "If you want to add text or voice, you don't need a new system. It's just a feature that you can add."

He said the Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008, which requires colleges to notify the campus community immediately of a significant emergency or dangerous situation, has led to some new business. "As deadlines approach, and assuming the teeth stay in the Act, it will have more impact."