Wednesday, April 12, the College of William and Mary’s Emergency Management Team sent an email to the campus community regarding an update to its Emergency Notification System. The administration will replace the former Blue Light (e-phone) system with the Rave Guardian app and nine emergency sirens by the fall semester.
“One of the duties of the university’s Emergency Management Team is to continually evaluate the functionality of system components and run full-system tests three times per year (each semester and once over the summer),” William and Mary Police Chief Deb Cheesebro and Vice President for Student Affairs Ginger Ambler wrote in the email.
The Emergency Management Team, led by Cheesebro and Ambler, tests the emergency systems’ functionality to ensure effective communication with the campus community in regard to emergency events on campus, ranging from active threats to hazardous weather.
“The technology used in the blue light kiosks is aging, and we recognized that ultimately the systems would be unrepairable or too costly to repair,” said Cheesebro. “We took the step then to identify an appropriate alternative.
The transition from the ninety Blue Light kiosks to the Rave Guardian app for emergency notifications began in August 2014. A key advantage of the free app is its functionality. Its design is tailored for easier student access, live geolocation, and a photo feature to send to the police. In areas of low cell service, the physical kiosks will remain.
Installation of emergency sirens began in March 2023. The College will install six new sirens with updated technology in addition to the existing three for better coverage and increased compatibility. A new public address system for voice messages will be incorporated as well. All nine sirens are expected to be operational by the summer.
Out-of-order Blue Light kiosks will be fully removed by the summer. In the meantime, there are visual reminders to use the Rave Guardian attached to the Blue Light kiosks.
In case of an emergency, there is still the option to dial 911 or the William and Mary Police Department directly at 757-221-4595.