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Campus community urged to register for emergency notification text messages

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Purdue University officials are urging students, faculty and staff to sign up to receive emergency notification text messages for situations that pose a threat to campus community safety.

The Purdue Alert system has the ability to send campuswide e-mails, text messages to those who have signed up to receive them, post to Facebook and the Purdue home page, notify media and residence hall officials, Boiler TV, and trigger outdoor sirens.

The Purdue Alert system has the ability to send campuswide e-mails, text messages to those who have signed up to receive them, post to Facebook and the Purdue home page, notify media and residence hall officials, Boiler TV, and trigger outdoor sirens.

Those who have already signed up and have changed cell phone numbers should update their information, said Carol Shelby, senior director of environmental health and public safety.

“We will only activate Purdue Alert text messaging when we determine there is an immediate threat to public safety,” Shelby said. “In situations in which all parties involved are accounted for and it is determined there is no threat, we won’t activate text alerts. The notification system will only be activated in appropriate situations because we don’t want people to become complacent when an alert is issued.”

Thus far, more than 32,000 people have signed up to receive text messages. To register, go to http://www.purdue.edu/securepurdue, click on “Change My Emergency Contact Number,” enter your Purdue account name and password, and enter your cell phone number.

Text messaging is one layer of a multilayered Purdue Alert system used to notify the campus community to emergency situations that could place people in immediate danger. The system includes the potential for campuswide e-mailing, text messaging to those who have signed up to receive them, posting to Facebook and the Purdue home page, notifications to media and residence hall officials, Boiler TV, and outdoor sirens.

All or a portion of the communication layers could be used during an emergency, Shelby said. She noted several factors in determining when to activate Purdue Alert and what layers to activate, such as whether there is a direct threat to the Purdue community, time of day, and other circumstances.

To help decide the most appropriate response, Purdue has established three emergency incident levels, depending on the specific circumstances.

Level 3 is a minor, localized incident. Warning notifications will occur as time permits. Level 2 is a major incident or potential threat that disrupts sizable portions of the campus. Mass e-mail, text-messaging, the Purdue home page and Facebook, Boiler TV, and notification to residence halls and media could be used, depending upon the severity and the situation.

Level 1 is a major disaster or imminent threat involving the entire campus and/or surrounding community, and all alert notifications, including sirens, could be used.

During emergencies near campus, West Lafayette and Purdue police are in close contact and exchange information, Shelby said. The decision whether to activate Purdue Alert and how to send the message is made by Purdue’s public safety officials.

More information about the alert system can be found at the Purdue Emergency Preparedness Web site, http://www.purdue.edu/emergency_preparedness/. “Your Campus, Your Safety” also provides information on campus safety at http://www.purdue.edu/police/pdf/YourCampus_2009.pdf

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