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   from the issue of October 18, 2007

UNL Alert now issues multiple messages


Students, faculty and staff at UNL will receive emergency messages wherever they want to get them. The new UNL Alert system was launched Oct. 18, and the university community is signing up for the message delivery process now.

"The new UNL Alert system has new services that will let the university send personalized emergency messages to computers, land-line telephones and cell phones with text and voice," said Christine Jackson, UNL vice chancellor for Business and Finance. "Our students, faculty and staff can choose which devices they want messages sent to, and even prioritize which are alerted first. It's a powerful, customizeable emergency communication tool for our university community."

The service will require UNL students, faculty and staff to enter a secure site to sign in their contact phone numbers and text and e-mail addresses. There is no cost to users for the service. It is through a Tennessee-based company, WARN (Wide Area Rapid Notification Inc.), which was selected this summer after an extensive proposal and interview process.

Efforts at improving campus safety and emergency communication have intensified nationwide since the April Virginia Tech tragedy and enhanced text and voice communications have been targeted as a way to warn or alert large, mobile populations - like those on campuses - about emergencies. In April, a desktop UNL Alert application was distributed to computer users to initiate a campuswide warning system, and prior to that, campuswide e-mails and Web postings have been used to communicate with people on campus about emergencies. The new technologies added will be multiple phones, including cellular phones, and text-messaging, pagers, personal digital assistants and two-way radios.

"Ultimately the goal is to provide the best means of communication to do our best to make campus as safe as possible," Jackson said, "and emergency managers know that effective emergency communication is accomplished with multiple and overlapping, but consistent, messages. No one method will reach all recipients, but if we send redundant messages with multiple delivery methods, the chance for receiving the communication is improved greatly. That's what helps save lives."

Jackson said the UNL Alert system now incorporates many delivery methods and that the system will be used in imminent life and safety threats only. She said the signup process is voluntary but 100 percent involvement is hoped for.

Download UNL Alert or sign up for the new delivery methods online at:



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