The inner workings of the CCS emergency alert system is exposed.
In the fall of 2015 the CCS purchased the emergency alert system known as RAVE. This system allowed the district to send out alert messages to several schools within seconds. These messages can be sent through voicemail, email or text messages and usually warn students and staff of school cancellations, early closing and dangerous situations in or around campus. The CCS’s emergency alert system, RAVE, is a fast and efficient way to alert multiple colleges to early closures, cancellations or dangerous situations. The area that the CCS district covers is expansive, starting at Pullman and stretching all the way up to the Canadian border.
In order to deal with such a large area when the decision is made to close early or cancel classes in one area of Washington, the entire district gets cancelled instead. There are also policies in place stating that state if one school in the SCC branch is closed, all others must be closed as well.
The system works much the same way when the opposite it true, if poor weather is affecting the majority of students but a significant number can still make it to school, the colleges will open district wide.
“The reason we don’t close school every time it snows is because students have to fill a certain number of credits,” said Christine Johnson, Chancellor of the CCS. “We open school to give students the opportunity to go to class, but it is up to them whether or not they go.”
This means that the longer classes are closed due to bad weather or any other reason, the more classes students miss. To keep the school open the CCS district only cancels school when absolutely necessary.
“Before RAVE it was challenging for timely info,” said Lora Senf Dean of Business at SFCC.
An example of this was in the Fall of 2015 when a windstorm blew through Spokane knocking power out throughout the city. The district of CCS knew the day before by gathering information from the local and county weather stations that the storm was coming. School was canceled early that day when it was clear that the storm was only going to get worse. The next day school was canceled altogether, but the following day classes were held on schedule even though much of the city did not have power.
The rave alert messages are sent out early in order to alert students as soon as possible about any situation.
“We are able to send the messages via email, text message or voicemail.” said Carolyn Casey, Public Information Officer for the CCS district.
Changes can be made on how a student receives these messages but it is not mandatory. If a student does not change anything then the RAVE message will go to their email or their voicemail. If a student wishes to make changes to how they get these messages there is a link at the bottom of the CCS homepage where they can choose how they get they alerts.