WWU to test Western Alert notification system Thursday, Oct. 17

Friday, October 11, 2013 - 10:01am
Western Today staff

Western Washington University plans to test its emergency notification system known as Western Alert at 10:45 a.m. on Thursday, Oct. 17.

Western Alert is a group of ways to reach students, faculty and staff with important safety information. The following Western Alert elements will be tested on Oct. 17:

  • Test voice messages over the campus fire alarm system (building enunciation).
  • Sounding Big Ole steam whistle for outdoor alert – a signal to seek information.
  • Sending text messages to everyone who has registered in web4u at MyWestern.
  • Test emails to students, faculty and staff.
  • Posting a Western Alert message on the emergency communication webpage, emergency.wwu.edu and university homepage.
  • Posting a message on Western’s Facebook page and Twitter feed.

In conjunction with the Western Alert drill, please consider taking some time to review your personal emergency plan.  Through a U.S. Department of Education grant, Western has created a new video to help students, faculty and staff be more ready for an emergency. A link to Western’s new emergency management video is here.  Western's Emergency Management Committee recommends you view this eight-minute video.

On Oct. 17, atest voice message (building enunciation) will be repeated several times in buildings as well as some outside speakers at: the university tennis courts, the south campus oval at the Communications Facility, and at the Old Main lawn.  Amber fire alarm strobes also will flash in the main corridors of academic buildings and bathrooms.

Western is participating in the Great Washington Shakeout, the statewide earthquake preparation drill. Please participate by practicing drop, cover and hold when the Western Alert test takes place on Oct. 17.

A critical element of Western Alert, a text message is one of the most reliable ways to quickly provide emergency information.  Even if users do not regularly text on their cell phones, most phones are capable of receiving text information.  Western students, faculty and staff who have not yet registered to receive Western Alerts via text message are asked to update their personal information via the Web4U application.  Employees may also call the Human Resources Department at 650-3774 for assistance in signing up.

To date, 94 percent of WWU students, 61 percent of staff and 53 percent of faculty members have provided their cell phone numbers to Web4U to receive emergency text messages.