UA Launches Emergency Text Messaging System

Oct. 8, 2007
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University of Arizona students, employees and family members can now receive text messages on their cell phone or other mobile devices during a campus emergency.

The new service, UA Alert, allows for the delivery of time-sensitive messages to members of the UA campus community, regardless of their location.

UA Alert is part of a comprehensive emergency communications system, which includes e-mails, Web site postings, media announcements, voice mail messages and face-to-face communications during a crisis situation.

“There is no one-size-fits-all solution when is comes to emergency communications,” UA Vice President of Student Affairs Melissa Vito said. “We need, and now have, a multi-layered system that reaches the campus community in person, on their cell phones or mobile devices, via e-mail, online and in the news media.”

The UA is partnering with e2Campus, a leading mass notification system working with universities nationwide, to add text messaging to its emergency communications plan.

Administered by members of the UA’s Campus Emergency Response Team, UA Alert messages will be distributed during critical situations, such as a campus closure, active crime warning, weather advisory or safety hazard.

Messages can be delivered to cell phones, pagers, PDAs and other wireless devices.

“It is vital that we deliver information quickly, accurately and responsibly during critical incidents,” said Brian A. Seastone, UA manager of emergency preparedness. “With UA Alert, we can reach tens of thousands of people instantly with updates and instructions during a crisis, once you have signed up for UA Alert. We highly encourage all students, faculty and staff to take a minute to sign up for this valuable tool.”

If the UA installs digital signage or public address systems in the future, the e2Campus service also has the capacity to deliver messages directly to them.

UA Alert will only be used for emergency communications or emergency preparedness. Registered users will only receive messages in times of an actual emergency or during a drill.

UA Alert is a free opt-in service, students and employees must register their cell phone numbers online in order to receive messages. They also can register one other person, such as a parent, spouse or friend, to receive messages.

“We're thrilled to take part in a new campus focus on safety, said Jessica Anderson, executive vice president of Associated Students of the UA. I'm excited to be working as part of ASUA to meet the security needs of our student body.”

A valid UA NetID is required to register for the service. Parents of current UA students wishing to receive UA Alert messages must have their cell phone number registered by the student.

Signing up for UA Alert takes about one minute. To register, visit http://alerts.arizona.edu.