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Emergency notification system test set for Oct. 17

Friday, Oct. 17, 2008 Campus-wide

The University will conduct a campus-wide test of its emergency notification system Friday, Oct. 17, to ensure that members of the University community can be contacted during a campus crisis or 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. 15, to ensure inclusion in the test. Options for adding phone and e-mail 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.

This annual test of the Princeton Telephone and E-mail Notification System (PTENS) allows new members of the campus community to confirm that 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.

PTENS allows campus administrators to notify the entire campus of emergency situations, or to send targeted messages to individuals in a specific building or department for alerts that do not concern the entire campus. Depending on the severity of the emergency, simultaneous alerts can be sent to individuals through landline phones, cellular phones, text messaging and e-mail.

Changes for text messages

A notable change from last year is that individuals, except for T-Mobile cell phone subscribers, no longer have to opt in to receive text messages. When a cell phone number is added or changed in student and employee databases, individuals will receive from the phone number 23177 the following confirmation message -- PRINCETON ALERT: You are now confirmed to receive alerts from us. More info text reply "HELP" or "STOP TIGER" to opt out.

Individuals subscribed to T-Mobile are not automatically opted in to receive text messages. After entering their cell phone numbers into the database, T-Mobile subscribers 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. (This applies only to text alerts.)

T-Mobile subscribers will not receive future text message alerts if they do not reply to the confirmation message by sending the following text message: Y Tiger. Individuals will receive a second text message confirming that alerts will be sent in the future.

Students, faculty and staff do not need to "opt in" to receive text message alerts if they have previously opted in for the service and their cell phone information has not changed. Individuals who are unsure about receiving text message alerts should send an e-mail to PTENS@princeton.edu.

Regardless of whether they opt in for text messages, all individuals will continue to receive phone and e-mail alerts based on the current information recorded in the HR self-service and SCORE databases, depending on the nature of the emergency.

During the Oct. 17 test, campus administrators will use the notification system to send simultaneous alerts 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. 17 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 of the test date to anyone who may receive the message instead of the intended recipient, such as family members or roommates.

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 is the case 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.

For more information about the notification system, visit: web.princeton.edu/sites/emergency/PTENS-FAQ.html.

People with further questions about the PTENS system should contact PTENS@princeton.edu.

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