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UW-Madison to test emergency notification system

May 6, 2010 By John Lucas

The University of Wisconsin–Madison is planning a full-scale test of WiscAlerts, the campus emergency notification system.

The test will take place between 12-2 p.m. on Thursday, May 6.

For the first time, several aspects of the university’s system will be tested simultaneously, including text messaging, email and voice lines. Specifically:

  • All 20,000 subscribers of WiscAlerts-Text, the campus text messaging service, will receive a message from short code 67283 or 226787.
  • 78,000 campus email users will receive a test email message.
  • All 21,000 campus Centrex phone users will receive a call with a recorded test message at their desk phone. (Users may also receive voice mails related to the test.)

The test is being launched as UWPD and DoIT recently completed an upgrade of the system to integrate text, phone and email systems for emergency situations. Though users will notice few outward changes, the system should benefit from improved performance and more efficient message delivery in the event of a future emergency situation.

Campus users do not need to do anything in response to the test, unless they suspect their test WiscAlerts-Text message has been delayed in reaching them.

The test text message will read as follows: “WiscAlert: This is a test of the emergency notification system. If this message is received after 2 p.m., please reply with the word delay. This is a test.”

The university will use responses from users to track the source of any delays back through the system and local wireless providers.

The WiscAlerts system launched in April 2008 and has attracted steady interest and signups from students, faculty and staff, and new students in particular.

Students, faculty and staff who have not yet enrolled in WiscAlerts-Text messaging can do so by logging into the My UW Portal and looking for the WiscAlerts logo. Registration is simple and takes just a few moments.

Campus users of other systems such as WiscMail and Centrex phone lines, will automatically receive alerts without registration.