BU Alert System to Be Tested Today
Mandated test for system that’s gotten lots of use this fall
BU’s Emergency Alert System will undergo its annual federally mandated test today after working overtime in the last few weeks with updates on Hurricane Sandy and a fall spree of robberies near the Charles River Campus.
The system, which sends information during emergencies to students and staff via cell phones, landlines, University email addresses, and pagers, will transmit a test-related message today at 10:50 a.m. to all registered users. Real-life usage, even as recent as that for Sandy last week, isn’t allowed to substitute for the test, says Stephen Morash, director of emergency response planning.
The test will also evaluate web page banners on the University’s home page, BU Today, and the BU Emergency Management website. The University adopted the system in 2008 to handle crimes, severe weather, and other incidents that might disrupt operations.
Little more than one-quarter of faculty and staff have registered their cell phone numbers with the system, says Morash. University officials urge those who haven’t registered to do so via the Employee Link. Students must register their phones with the system to receive class registration permission; they can update their information at the Student Link.
During a town hall meeting last month on the fall robberies, some students complained that they lagged behind their peers in receiving alerts or that the messages came in several consecutive chunks. The former situation is a result of having to reach almost 50,000 people, officials said at the meeting. The latter occurs because some cell phones and pagers have small screens that can receive only parts of a message at once.2 Comments