JSC installs an emergency alert system


Gunter Kleist

One of 56 speakers

Last spring Johnson State College hired Wells Communication to assess and install an emergency alert system on-campus to ensure the safety of the college community in case of a dangerous event.

Starting in April, Wells Communication put in place a series of measures to help improve safety across campus. In addition to seven outdoor speakers placed around campus there are fifty-six horns and speakers inside the JSC buildings.

Wells also installed a mass text message alert system, revamped Public Safety’s radio communications and connected Public Safety to the national emergency channels.

Following [Virginia Tech] there was a huge rush to find a way to communicate to the students on campus, whether it was a shooter, a weather disaster, or a gas leak.” says Director of Public Safety Michael Palagonia, “So about two and a half years ago this was the discussion, what could we do?”

The Department of Public Safety, in coordination with the Department of Physical Plant, put in a request for funds with the Vermont Legislature.

After the funding was approved through State Appropriations the college brought in three security companies to evaluate the campus and submit bids.

Wells Communications, based out of Plattsburgh, NY, was the best option for the college’s needs. Wells finished up the last installations in late July after starting in April.

“It’s an expandable system so we are hoping to add on to it so that we can get complete communication [with the community] down the road.” Palagonia explains. “As of right now we don’t have full [sound] penetration but we’re confident enough people will hear it and get the message out.”