Mass notification system selected at Virginia Tech

A new emergency mass notification system has been selected for Virginia Tech’s classrooms and lecture halls.


When Virginia Tech's 28,000 students return to classes for the fall on Monday, they will benefit from another emergency mass notification system added over the summer in response to the April 2007 campus killings of 32 people by a lone gunman.

Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University hopes to have finished installing 220 text-message displays by Monday in its general-purpose classrooms and large lecture halls. The displays will be used to convey emergency messages about campus crimes or bad weather to students who are not supposed to be using cell phones in class and might not be able to hear outdoor emergency sirens, a school spokesman said today.

Mass notification on campuses has been a touchy issue since this tragedy, and is being engineered into new buildings across the United States.

The OnAlert displays from Inova Solutions Inc. use LEDs and can scroll text alerts left to right or top to bottom on a display about 3 ft wide and 6 in. high. Inova, which is based in Charlottesville, Va., near the Virginia Tech campus in Blacksburg, was picked as the display vendor after the first anniversary of the shootings last April, Virginia Tech spokesman Mark Owczarski said.

ComputerWorld magazine covers the whole story .

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