Facebook, Twitter and RSS feeds have been incorporated into the University’s emergency messaging system provider, E2 campus, to increase the program’s effectiveness and broaden its capacity to communicate with the ASU community in the case of an emergency.
The updated system is now also capable of e-mailing alert information and brief safety instructions to any student, faculty or staff member in the ASU e-mail directory, said Morgan R. Olsen, executive vice president, treasurer and chief financial officer of ASU.
“We would like to emphasize that students, faculty and staff should still sign up for the ASU Alert text messaging service,” Olsen said. “It’s important to utilize multiple communication options during emergencies, especially when so many of today’s students communicate primarily through text messaging.”
All of the new communication options added to the system were tested Tuesday and the tests went well, said ASU spokeswoman Julie Newberg.
“Feedback that we’ve received thus far from the test has been good. Messages were received quickly, often within a couple of minutes of sending,” Newberg said. “During an emergency, when safety is an issue, it’s possible to send instructions to the community … to avoid buildings or areas that are affected.”
In October, the E2 campus system was employed to inform users when a shot was fired in a suicide in the College of Design South building on the Tempe campus. An alert was sent within 30 minutes of the incident, though it was limited to students and staff who had previously subscribed to the program via text message and e-mail.
There are currently around 23,500 subscribers to the system, Newberg said.
ASU Police Cmdr. Jim Hardina stressed the importance of subscribing to the program.
“This is one method the University will use to communicate important information to the public, and if they are not a subscriber, they will not get that important information,” he said.
Psychology freshman Rita McGlynn said she signed up for the service shortly after the October incident.
“I didn’t know anything about the suicide-thing until my friends told me and I figured it’d be a good idea to be kept in the loop,” she said. “It’s good that they’re adding Facebook and Twitter … because when there’s an emergency situation like that, the more ways to reach students the better.”
The only text she has received so far was Tuesday’s test, but McGlynn said it’s reassuring to know that if there was an emergency situation, she would find out quickly.
An ASUrite ID and password are needed to sign up for the service.
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