George Mason University Installs Emergency Communication Portal

Global Security Systems LLC (GSS) recently announced that George Mason University is the first university in the nation to install ALERT FM for emergency alerting on its campuses. ALERT FM, an FM radio-based alert and messaging system, will provide redundancy to the university's existing emergency communications systems.

ALERT FM allows authorized personnel to create and send alerts and messages to specific groups of first responders, students or campus buildings before, during and after a crisis. 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 specialized receivers equipped with FM chips.

The reliability and redundancy of ALERT FM lies in its use of a pre- existing network of FM towers, which in turn provides overlapping coverage of an area. George Mason University will be initially covered by local FM station WETA (90.9) in Washington, D.C. This ensures distribution over a large geographical "footprint," having the potential to reach more than 30,000 students and faculty at George Mason University.

"The active support of university administrators and campus security personnel nationwide is critical to strengthening the communication infrastructure among our country's institutions of higher learning," said Jim Lowery, GSS general manager. "This initiative to utilize ALERT FM technology reflects a strong commitment to safeguarding our campuses -- an effort that we anticipate expanding across the nation."

ALERT FM was chosen because it allows customized system management and message groupings to meet the specific needs of the organization. The ALERT FM portal allows the authorized user to manage the content being delivered, ranging from local weather alerts to automated NOAA weather warnings to campus announcements and more.

"George Mason University already had SMS and e-mail emergency notification in place, but we were looking for multiple layers due to the vulnerability of SMS and e-mail," said Keith Bushey, George Mason vice president of special projects. "The ALERT FM system was affordable and provided an infrastructure that was already in place -- taking a burden off of us. We're in total control -- even down to registering and programming the receivers for the end user."

To further strengthen emergency communication on the campus, George Mason University has also purchased ALERT FM Receivers, USB Receivers and Wall Receivers. The ALERT FM Receivers and USB Receivers are portable devices that are capable of receiving emergency alerts and messages. The ALERT FM Wall Receivers are designed for stationary mount in public locations, such as libraries, dormitories or classroom hallways.

"We plan to distribute receivers to the on-campus community first, including resident advisors and directors," Bushey said. "ALERT FM is the best available solution to keeping our campus safe, including the 5,000 students who live on campus."

ALERT FM receivers became available to consumers in October. Easily programmable, the devices are portable and run on AA batteries.

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