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News Release

Date: November 8, 2007
Media Contact: Elizabeth Homan, 240-567-7970; Steve Simon, 240-567-7952

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Montgomery College to Partner with County to Notify Students of Emergencies
Montgomery College ALERT Service to Provide Text and E-Mail Message Alerts

Montgomery College is teaming up with Montgomery County’s Homeland Security Department and its “Alert Montgomery” emergency communication system to start using text and e-mail messaging for rapid notification of students and the College community, in the event a major emergency were to take place at the College.

The new Montgomery College ALERT service will complement the College’s current emergency communication systems, such as the College’s Web site, cable television station, student and employee e-mail and the main telephone information center.

Montgomery College will activate its Montgomery College ALERT service in the case of emergencies with potentially life-threatening situations at one of the College’s three campuses—Germantown, Rockville, and Takoma Park/Silver Spring.

“In introducing Montgomery College ALERT, we are able to offer our students and our entire college community an emergency notification service that has been proven to work for Montgomery County,” said Dr. Brian K. Johnson, president of Montgomery College. “Our greatest hope would be to never have to use the service, but it is reassuring to know that this tool is available to us in the event of a major emergency situation taking place on a Montgomery College campus.”

“Montgomery College will join a number of Montgomery County agencies that already use the Alert Montgomery system to send short text messages to our residents as quickly as possible, in the event of an emergency,” said Gordon Aoyagi, director of Montgomery County’s Homeland Security Department. “We are delighted about this partnership. Those who sign up for the Montgomery College ALERT service will automatically receive severe weather and homeland security alerts for Montgomery County. We hope they will also consider receiving other types of notifications provided through Alert Montgomery.”

In order to ensure better student participation, the College has updated its class registration process to give students multiple opportunities to opt-in for this Web-based service. Information on Montgomery College ALERT will be available on the main registration page, the registration confirmation and payment pages of the College’s online registration service as well as on the home page of the College’s Web portal.

While intended primarily to serve students, faculty and staff, Montgomery College ALERT can also serve members of the greater Montgomery College community, who can sign up to use the alert service to stay informed, in the event of a major emergency. Visitors to the Montgomery County, Maryland Web site who sign up for other notification options can now select Montgomery College ALERT as a notification option.

Subscribers to Montgomery College ALERT will automatically be enrolled in the County-wide emergency alert notification system, which would issue alerts in the case of a major emergency that affects the safety of the County’s residents.

College closures or delayed openings, due to inclement weather, will not be communicated through Montgomery College ALERT. These messages will continue to be disseminated to the college community through a broad variety of other communication tools including the College Web site, broadcast e-mails, the College cable television station, the main telephone information center for the College, and Washington area media outlets.

Persons interested in registering online for Montgomery College ALERT are urged to visit the Montgomery College Web site at www.montgomerycollege.edu/emergency or go directly to the County’s Alert Montgomery system at http://alert.montgomerycountymd.gov.

Those registering for emergency notification will be requested to give their name, e-mail address and phone number, and then to choose the Montgomery College ALERT option. Please note that while signing up for Montgomery College ALERT is free of charge, wireless carriers may charge users a fee to receive text messages.

For more information on the Montgomery College ALERT service, visit www.montgomerycollege.edu/emergency.

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Montgomery College is a public, open admissions community college with campuses in Germantown, Rockville, and Takoma Park/Silver Spring, plus workforce development/continuing education centers and off-site programs throughout Montgomery County, Md. The College serves nearly 60,000 students a year, through both credit and noncredit programs, in more than 100 areas of study.

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