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Tuesday, Sept. 16, 2014

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Emergency notification system test set, Oct. 19

Princeton will conduct a campus-wide test of its emergency notification system Friday, Oct. 19, to ensure that members of the University community can be contacted during a campus emergency.

All faculty, staff and students must update their personal contact information through the appropriate self-service websites no later than 5 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 17, to ensure inclusion in the test. Options for adding phone, e-mail and SMS text contact information are provided through the Student Course Online Registration Engine (SCORE) database, where undergraduate and graduate students enter their information, and also through the Office of Human Resources self-service website for University employees.

The University is initiating an annual schedule of testing the newly named Princeton Telephone and Email Notification System (PTENS) to allow new members of the campus community to confirm they have provided accurate and complete contact information and can be reached in an emergency. The test also is an opportunity to encourage all faculty, staff and students to update their contact information. The first system-wide test of the notification system was in May.

One notable change to the system is that the system vendor, NTI Connect-ED, no longer requires an SMS e-mail address for text messaging. Instead, individuals who "opt in" to benefit from this feature will receive text messages automatically to their cell phones, in addition to phone and e-mail alerts. Individuals who have their cell phone information in student and employee databases no later than 5 p.m. Oct. 17 will receive a text message on their mobile phones asking if they would like to receive SMS text alerts from Princeton University. In order to receive SMS text messages in future emergencies, individuals must reply to agree to receive text messages.

After a student, faculty or staff member has used the self-service database to add or confirm their cell phone number, their cell phones will receive a message from 23177 with the following text: "Princeton Alert: You asked to receive Tiger alerts. Please reply with “Y Tiger” to confirm." Though the University will not use text messaging for all emergencies, individuals will not receive future text message alerts if they do not reply to the message by texting the following: Y Tiger.

During the Oct. 19 test, campus administrators will use the notification system to send simultaneous alerts to individuals through landline phones, cellular phones, text messaging and e-mail beginning at 1 p.m. The notification system can access up to six phone numbers per person, in addition to two e-mail addresses.

The Oct. 19 test message will begin by stating: "This is a test of the Princeton University emergency notification system."

Although the message will advise that it is a test, individuals should give advance notice to anyone who may receive the message instead of the intended recipient -- for example, family members or roommates -- of the test date.

All of the University's approximately 12,000 faculty, staff and students are expected to receive their messages within minutes of the distribution to various groups. As during a true emergency, members of the campus community are strongly encouraged to avoid making phone calls or sending text messages during the test period to avoid unnecessarily delaying important communications. Also, individuals should not respond to the test message.

In the event of an actual emergency, the University will continue to relay critical information using the most appropriate options from a full range of notification resources, such as Web announcements, e-mail, an automated message line, the Tiger TV emergency alert system, local radio stations, door-to-door notifications and posters. The manner of notification will depend on the nature of the emergency. As an additional precaution, it is important for individuals who receive official emergency alerts to share information with others nearby, in case they have not yet received the communication. Individuals also should avoid the use of telephones to prevent overloading the telecommunications system.

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