Purdue Emergency Plan Adds Text Messaging

10,762 people have registered to receive emergency notifications through text messaging.

by / January 8, 2008

Purdue officials announced Monday that the university has purchased a text messaging service to provide emergency notification. 2SMS Business Text Messaging will provide the service through the spring semester. The service is one layer of the university's notification process to alert students and staff to emergency situations.

"We hope that by the end of the semester we will have a longer-term agreement in place," said Carol Shelby, senior director of Environmental Health and Public Safety. "Meanwhile, we are assessing the results of testing conducted this fall to see what kind of system would work best for our location and how we might be able to improve it."

So far, 10,762 people have registered to receive emergency notifications through text messaging, and Shelby urges others to sign up as well. To sign up, go to http://www.purdue.edu/securepurdue, click on "Change My Password," enter your account name and password, and select the "Emergency Contact Information" link.

"The service is for faculty and staff as well as students," Shelby said. "We also hope our sorority house moms and others in similar positions will register."

The university will send texts to these subscribers only in case of an emergency, said Ronnie Wright, director of university emergency preparedness.

"No system is foolproof, so we will use multiple approaches," Wright said. "The quickest alert will be sirens. Next will be e-mail and texting. These will be followed by information on the university's home page, from news media and Facebook. Our goal is to reach a critical mass of people 24/7 wherever they are - in the classroom or office, walking outside, driving to work or in their living unit. If we can reach many, then they can alert others in their areas."

The texting system used this fall was provided by 2SMS, which now has the six-month contract.