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MUSC Alert system passes first major
While universities across the country are trying to develop effective
emergency alert systems to avert tragedies similar to what occurred at
Virginia Tech and on other campuses, MUSC’s own system has progressed
with unprecedented success and efficiency.
During its first quarterly test Jan. 4, MUSC Alert didn’t falter in
meeting the critical reach and timing standards set by Risk Management,
Public Safety, Information Systems and the Web team in marketing that
helped build and design the system.
The MUSC Alert system provides timely information regarding
campus-related emergencies sent simultaneously via text messages to
cell phones, personal digital assistants; and e-mail accounts; and
through a uniquely-designed desktop alert system. Pre-recorded voice
message alerts also can be delivered to cell phones.
“The first quarterly test of the MUSC Alert system was extremely
successful,” said Jennifer Taylor, University Risk Management business
manager. “We posted for delivery 3,374 text and voice messages, and
approximately 8,500 desktop alerts.”
Simultaneously, an e-mail was sent to every e-mail address in the MUSC
system. “We sent a message to approximately 18,250 e-mail addresses all
within a matter of minutes,” Taylor said.
The e-mail message sent to registrants and non-registrants read: “This
is a quarterly test of the MUSC Alert Emergency Notification System.
You are getting this message, because you have an MUSC e-mail account.
MUSC Alert is MUSC’s Emergency Notification System. All registered
users of this system receive a text (via short messaging service),
voice, e-mail and desktop message. If you are a registered user of MUSC
Alert and did not receive a text and/or voice message, please be sure
your mobile number is correct.”
The system had been pilot-tested to a handful of registrants prior to
the Jan. 4 broad-scale test. As a result of this test, an additional
381 people signed up for MUSC Alert, Taylor said.
Since its official launch, a few new features are being developed. For
example, desktop alerts have only reached LYNX system PCs with Windows.
Software is being developed so that alerts will also reach Mac and
non-LYNX system PCs, Taylor said.
Currently, the Simon paging system is not connected to the alert
system, but MUSC Alert will work in conjunction with the paging system
as well as other notification systems currently available on campus;
including Internet (MUSC Red Button), landline phone systems, system
fail phones, overhead paging and radios.
The MUSC Alert notifications will be sent for emergencies that directly
affect, or will directly impact the MUSC campus, Taylor added.
Risk Management and Public Safety manage and administer the use of the
system. The type of emergency also would determine what office will
issue the alert.
“For instance, Public Safety would issue alerts in response to a
police emergency, or those that might involve a hostage situation, bomb
threat, or shooting,” Taylor said. “Risk Management would issue the
alert in other events such as a weather emergency, chemical spill or
The alerted public, however, would not know the difference in the
system that is remarkably seamless.
Meanwhile, those who have registered should have received a text and/or
voice message. If not, registrants should check their information by
clicking on http://www.musc.edu/muscalert, to see if the information is
Another test of the system is planned for the first week in April. For
information, questions or concerns regarding the MUSC Alert system,
contact Taylor at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Register for MUSC Alert
To receive emergency text and voice messages on your cell phone, go to http://www.musc.edu/muscalert.
All faculty, staff and students are encouraged to register.
Friday, Jan. 25, 2008
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