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BYU readies online emergency notification system, Y Alert

Training video now available

Beginning this week, Brigham Young University is encouraging all members of the campus community to view its new, online emergency preparedness training video. The video provides helpful information and shows how students, faculty and staff should register to be included in the university’s emergency notification system, called Y Alert.

The training video, which is located at y-alert.byu.edu, is part of BYU’s efforts to review and update its General Emergency Management Plan. The video takes about 12 to 15 minutes to view.

“Our goal throughout this process,” says Mike Orme, Assistant to the President-General Counsel, “has been to prepare the university to better meet any potential or actual emergency.”

Orme has led a large group of university officials in reviewing all phases of emergency management at BYU. With the review now complete, the training video was designed to accomplish three objectives:

Inform the campus community of BYU’s Y Alert emergency messaging system.

Facilitate the registration of student and employee cell phone numbers and e-mail addresses to receive Y Alert emergency messages.

Educate the campus community on BYU’s emergency preparedness policies and procedures.

Starting spring term 2008, BYU began collecting student and employee cell phone numbers and e-mail addresses to distribute Y Alert emergency messages. These messages, which will be sent only in the event of a crisis, could be distributed through several different channels, including the university Cisco IP phone system, text-enabled cell phones and e-mail messages.

In case of an emergency, the landline IP phone loudspeakers would broadcast a message, which also would be displayed as a text message on the phones’ screens, even if employees are using their phones.

The university has more than 7,500 IP phones on campus.

All members of the university community are being encouraged to register their cell phone numbers, as well as their e-mail addresses, to receive emergency messages. The training video provides an opportunity for all students, faculty and staff to register. They may also register on their Route Y personal information page.

“It is critical to BYU’s emergency notification plan that the university has current individual phone numbers and e-mail addresses,” says Orme. “In studying past emergencies at other schools, it is readily apparent that several channels of communication are needed, particularly if one system fails or is delayed.”

A theme throughout the training video is,“Heed the warning and spread the message.” Orme explains that the theme emphasizes the importance of every person on campus helping to facilitate information during a crisis.

“We want students and personnel to heed the warning, but we also need them to warn their fellow students and colleagues. As shown in the video, we need everyone to turn to his or her neighbors and make sure they have received the Y Alert as well.”

Also included in the video is a link to the “Shots Fired” video, which the university has licensed for campus use.

Writer: Brady Toone

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