RIT to test its emergency notification systems on Sunday, Oct. 27

Students, faculty and staff will receive test messages; no action required

Follow Ellen Rosen on Twitter
Follow RITNEWS on Twitter

A test of RIT Alert, the university’s emergency mass notification system, will be conducted at 4:30 p.m. on Oct. 27.

All university students, faculty and staff will receive notification, and clear messaging that the notice is part of a system test, and no action is required on their part.

RIT Alert consists of two systems:

  • Everbridge Aware, which sends alerts to cell phones, email addresses and through instant messaging
  • Alertus Technologies, which employs beacons and sirens on campus, as well as alerts to desktops of on-campus computers and messaging through RIT’s social media channels, which include RIT Facebook pages, Twitter accounts and RSS feeds.

RIT implemented the Everbridge Aware system in June 2007. The system was chosen because it could send thousands of messages in minutes via voice, SMS text, email and instant message. RIT provides faculty (including adjunct), staff (including RIT Temp and extended part-time) and student contact data via Web API so that one source of contact information is maintained.

In 2008, RIT received a grant from the U.S. Department of Education for emergency planning and preparedness. One element of the grant was to install a facility-based emergency notification system from Alertus Technologies. The initial implementation of beacons across campus was completed in 2010 with 55 beacons installed in academic and administrative buildings across campus, including four outdoor sirens. Since then, 40 more beacons have been installed.

Since 2010, Alertus Technologies has developed a number of enhancements that expand the reach of notifications:

  • Desktop alerts for Mac and Windows PCs and laptops
  • RSS feeds
  • Facebook posts
  • Twitter “tweets”
  • Integration with Everbridge Aware

Now when RIT Public Safety initiates an emergency notification from Alertus, the same emergency message will:

  • Pop up on more than 3,100 ITS-managed computers within seconds (this portion of the system will not be tested on Oct. 27, since it is a Sunday)
  • Post to the main RIT homepage (www.rit.edu) and the emergency page (http://emergency.rit.edu) via RSS feed
  • Create a post on the RIT Facebook page
  • Send tweets from the RIT University News Twitter account
  • Activate Everbridge Aware, sending text, voice and instant messages to contacts in the system

To sign up for the alerts, go to the RIT Alert – Emergency Notification page on the university’s website.