FAYETTE, Iowa (April 29, 2008) -Upper Iowa University (UIU) has planned a test of the UIUAlert Emergency Notification System for May 7. A test message will be sent via text, e-mail, and voice to all students, their designated emergency contacts, and all employees who have registered for the alert system.
UIU has been working on its emergency response plan for several years. Initial registration for UIUAlert was held last week; more than 120 students pre-registered within the first four hours, with over half of the students adding their parents as a contact. "This is definitely a good thing for students. We need to be able to know what's going on," said UIU sophomore Katrina Saterdalen from Stewartville, Minn.
A letter will go out this week to all parents and commuter students to the Fayette campus notifying them of the opportunity to register for alerts. The system will alert students of campus closings due to weather-related causes, as well as warn of any urgent crisis situations that might occur.
"With all of the personal technology available today, it only makes sense to utilize it to enhance our ability to reach students in a crisis," said UIU President Dr. Alan Walker. "Today, being prepared to help ensure the safety of students must be a priority for all universities, everywhere."
According to Walker, although Upper Iowa has been working on an emergency strategy for several years, the University signed with Connect-Ed on April 1, 2008 to enhance its overall plan. Using the highest security protocol possible, Connect-Ed is a fully-hosted, Web-based system that can store up to six phone numbers per person, in addition to two e-mail addresses. It is the same alert system implemented and activated recently by the three Regent universities in Iowa.
The UIUAlert test message for cell phones will read, "This is a test of the Upper Iowa University Emergency Notification System. Please do not respond. This concludes the test." Text messaging is limited in the number of characters, but voice and e-mail messages can include more detailed information. The cell phone readout will originally appear as a five-digit number, which students and staff have been instructed to save as UIUAlert for the next time the system is activated.
Test results will be reviewed to ensure UIUAlert operates at optimal performance levels in an emergency, with administration looking at how many actually received the message via the requested delivery mode and how quickly the message was received.
For more information about UIUAlert, Upper Iowa University's emergency notification system, go to www.uiu.edu and click on the link under "Register for UIU Alert."
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