President Elson S. Floyd

Perspectives

Elson S. Floyd, Ph.D. - 03/19/08

In Case of Emergency

The tragic events at Virginia Tech and Northern Illinois universities have focused the attention of everyone in higher education on the subject of security and timely notification in case of emergencies.

Since this subject is much on our minds, I wanted to provide an update on what our university has been doing.

People on the Pullman campus have become accustomed to the monthly tests of the outdoor alert and siren system we installed over the summer.

As most of you know, last fall WSU signed a contract with 3n, a firm that met our criteria for a flexible, reliable and thorough emergency messaging system. That system can be activated by administrators on each of our campuses to issue targeted e-mail, phone and text messages.

Since we contracted for the system, we have been working closely with the company to make sure the system meets our university’s needs. The system received an impromptu test during this winter’s snow emergency, when it was activated to alert students, faculty and staff of the closure of our Pullman campus. We learned valuable information from that and have worked to refine the system further.

However, any such system is only as good as the information that it has to work with. I urge all of you – students, faculty and staff – to go to http://my.WSU.edu, type in your user ID and password and register for emergency notification. This information will be used solely for that purpose.

It needs to be current. It does none of us any good to have messages sent to outdated cell phone numbers or e-mail addresses.

The page has recently been updated. Those who have registered before should return to the site, review their information and take advantage of the additional emergency contact options that are now available.

I also encourage you to bookmark the WSU Alert page: http://alert.wsu.edu. There we will post updated information on any emergency situation. Fortunately, the word about WSU Alert is spreading. During the two-day snow emergency, the page received about 117,000 hits.

Experts agree that effective emergency communications requires not just one or two tactics, but an entire toolbox of strategies. We are putting those strategies in place. If we work together, we can be well-prepared for a situation that we all hope never occurs.

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