WANTED: Students to Register for Text-Messaging Alerts

WANTED: Students to Register for Text-Messaging Alerts – Mar 6, 2008

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New Emergency Notification System is Just One of Many Campus Safety Measures

BATON ROUGE – Today all eight campuses in the University of Louisiana System are actively recruiting students, faculty, staff, and parents to register for text and voice alert messages in case of emergency situations.

“Now is the time for our campus communities to sign up for this emergency alert system," said UL System Executive Vice President Kim Hunter Reed. "Strong participation is critical so we are asking parents to assist us by encouraging their students to participate."

The new alert system provided by the Baton Rouge-based company, FirstCall, will send out simultaneous text-messages to cell phones, voice alerts to campus and registered land-line phones, and electronic messages through campus signage in times of emergency.

Anyone with a university email account can register multiple phone numbers for the alert system. This means parents can also be notified when an emergency situation occurs at their student’s university.

Registration processes vary by campus, but all can be accessed by going to the following university websites:

· Grambling State University: www.gram.edu

· Louisiana Tech University: www.latech.edu

· McNeese State University: www.mcneese.edu

· Nicholls State University: www.nicholls.edu

· Northwestern State University: www.nsula.edu

· Southeastern Louisiana University: www.selu.edu

· University of Louisiana at Lafayette: www.louisiana.edu

· University of Louisiana at Monroe: www.ulm.edu

The Louisiana Board of Regents is covering the costs for this system for every public campus in the state for the next three years.

The FirstCall alert system is just one of many campus safety measures implemented by ULS universities. In fact, the UL System has been singled out for its aggressive emergency preparedness efforts.

“Every campus in the state is looking at their emergency plans. The University of Louisiana System is the only System that has contracted with an external evaluator to provide a standards-based plan and is the only System to bring the right people together to work collaboratively. You are the model,” said Board of Regents Associate Commissioner for Information and Learning Technology Mike Abbiatti, who has been coordinating statewide campus safety efforts.

Last fall, the UL System contracted with national consultants Dewberry and Davis, LLC, to review emergency plans in an effort to strengthen campus operations in the event of a crisis. The System’s new Emergency Preparedness Steering Committee is working to implement the Dewberry report recommendations.

In addition to strengthening emergency plans, ULS campus personnel have gone through numerous training exercises. Just last week, ULS university presidents and communications directors attended a four-hour crisis training session in Lake Charles with former Louisiana State Police Emergency Response Coordinator Ronnie Jones. ULS campus police chiefs are scheduled to undergo a two-day training with Jones for Crisis Communications and Management on March 26-27 in Baton Rouge.

In addition to the FirstCall alert systems, campuses are already utilizing public announcement systems, sirens, emergency call boxes, signage, and email and website notification in times of emergency.

“Emergency preparedness has now become a critical part of our mission in higher education. Providing a safe environment for student learning is a top priority of our System and our university presidents,” said Reed.

For More Information Contact:
Jackie Tisdell