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Franklin Co. School's Newest Tool will Combat Threats in Real-Time

Written by Jamey Singleton. Posted in News

sheriffROCKY MOUNT - The Franklin County School system has partnered with the Sheriff's Department to bring a real-time threat alert system to all area schools later this year.

CopSync911 is a system that allows teachers and school personel to connect with the five closest police officers and a dispacter in the event of a life-threatening situtation such as an active shooter. 

Sheriff Bill Overton says the program saves precious time.

"One thing we've learned in these tragic events is that seconds count," Overton said.

Superintendent Mark Church says the technology can be used on mobile phones and computer desktops. The system will be installed first in the high school and then to all other schools in Franklin County.

An anonymous donor made the school's purchase of the system possible.

Within the software, users can share information in a chatroom-sytle setting. A map of the area along with officer locations is also available.

Church says the software will help relay vital information from the scene to dispatchers when the 911 lines may be tied up with irrelevant information.

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YMCA Gearing Up for 'Water Wise' Swim Program

Written by Jamey Singleton. Posted in News

ypoolROCKY MOUNT – The Franklin County Family YMCA is READY for its third year of offering the “Water Wise” swim program to every second grader in the county.

This program provides FREE swim lessons to second graders in all 12 elementary schools in the county. The YMCA does this because of the number of rivers and lakes in the county, the inability of many families to afford to pay for swim lessons, and the Y’s mission to help those in the community who need it. The program teaches lifesaving swimming skills and water safety because one of the single largest causes of childhood deaths is drowning, and many of those drownings occur within 10 feet of safety. The YMCA is proud that more than 1,200 students have participated and learned water safety skills over the last two years.

“In a community with two large lakes and numerous rivers, it is absolutely essential that we teach water safety for children. There is no other organization in our region that teaches as many children to swim as we have. In the past two years, this program has taught more than 1100 children to swim. We saw the urgent need, so we have done what we could to help the community, which is our mission” says Andrea Fansler Development Director with the YMCA.

Since 1998 the YMCA has been the leader in aquatics programming in Franklin County teaching thousands of children how to swim over the years. The Y also offers a competitive swim team and hosts teams from around the region at its local meets. The Y has even developed a full swim curriculum for summer camp and preschool children’s programs, something very few other childcare programs in the area offer.

“The second graders in the program are introduced to water safety and given swimming lessons over a two week program at the Rocky Mount YMCA. In addition to swim instruction children get free time to play and practice the skills they’ve learned and on the final day of a swim lessons, parents are invited to observe and celebrate all that their children have learned,” says J.T. Boyd The Aquatic Director at the YMCA.

This program is completely funded by the YMCA and its community partners, which in the past have included Rocky Mount Rotary, Centra Health, The Foundation for Roanoke Valley, American National Bank and a few anonymous donors, who have contributed more than $24,000 towards the program. Total cost of the program is about $47,000, about $70 to $80 per student. The Y asks for community support in the form of donations to ensure not only the safety of the county’s children but also for the sustainability of the program. Local residents, businesses and parents interested in donating should contact Andrea Fansler at the Franklin County Y, 540-489-9622.