Virginia Western Community College (VWCC) is a two-year public college on 70 acres in Roanoke and the largest single-campus college in the Virginia Community College System, serving more than 13,000 students. Three false alarms had sent VWCC and a neighboring elementary school into lockdowns, creating unnecessary panic and media attention, so the college needed a new system to notify students, faculty, staff and local media of an actual threat while avoiding false alarms. It also had to integrate with the Cisco Systems telephone system in all buildings, classrooms and more than 30 emergency pull stations for paging and 911 notifications.
“Obviously a lockdown notification system is invaluable if just one life is saved. Status Solutions helped us create the system that we needed, and SARA does what it’s supposed to do. Plus we’ve found that SARA will enable us to add capabilities without significant additional costs.”
– Doug Parsons, VWCC’s Network and Security Administrator
VWCC was able to create a 24-7 lockdown notification system powered by the SARA alerting engine. If an emergency is called in via one of the Cisco phones or if an emergency pull station is activated, SARA automatically sets in motion a series of notifications to enhance campus safety. These include the lockdown siren with accompanying instructions broadcast through all of the college’s Cisco phones, as well as public address speakers in the cafeteria and other high-traffic areas. Alerts also go to campus police and a subscription service that notifies students, faculty, staff and local media about an unfolding security situation via email, phone or text.