Campus News

UGA plans test of emergency notification system during Severe Weather Awareness Week

UGA plans test of emergency notification system during Severe Weather Awareness Week

Athens, Ga. — A test of UGAAlert, the University of Georgia’s emergency mass-notification system, is scheduled for Wednesday, Feb. 6. The test is being planned as part of Severe Weather Awareness Week, sponsored by the Georgia Emergency Management Agency, the state governor’s office, and the National Weather Service.

The UGAAlert system will be used only during tests and when there is a severe threat to public safety and health of the entire campus that has not been contained or controlled and when immediate action is required, like a chemical spill impacting public health, an approaching tornado or an active shooter on campus. UGAAlert will not be used for non-emergency notifications such as lane closures, crime updates, inclement weather closings, localized building emergencies, situations that have been contained, situations where a threat does not exist or rumor control. In those cases, ArchNews, the campus-wide email notification system, will be used.

UGA phone numbers and e-mail addresses on record for all UGA faculty, staff and students were added to the UGAAlert database on Dec. 6. Users are encouraged to login to before the Feb. 6 drill to insure this information is correct. Users can also add alternate methods of contact, including up to three phone numbers which will receive voice or text messages, and two email addresses. The test may cause some disruption to UGA email service, local phone service and cell phone service.

“We encourage people to include more than one method of communication in UGAAlert,” said Steve Harris, interim director of UGA’s Office of Security and Emergency Preparedness. “That way, if a disaster incapacitates one means of communication, they will still get the message by another means. If you have your office number in there, make sure you add your cell phone, too. If your UGA email address is registered, also put in your personal email address.”

UGAAlert is available to users on the Athens, Gwinnett, Griffin and Tifton campuses, and contact information must be confirmed when MyID passwords are reset every six months. Although it is not recommended, users may opt-out of the UGAAlert notification system by making the appropriate designation in their record. Users are also encouraged to program 706/542-0111 into their caller ID as the phone number that will be displayed when a UGAAlert message is delivered.

“It would be great if people use this opportunity on Feb. 6 to exercise their emergency plans,” said John Newton, emergency operations coordinator. “If this were a real tornado, what would you do? Go over your plan, and execute it if you can.”

The Athens-Clarke County community also will be testing outdoor tornado warning sirens as part of the statewide severe weather drill. Announcements will be made on campus including on campus buses and University Cablevision. In the event of a real emergency, additional information would be posted on as well.

Online evaluations will be available after the Feb. 6 test at User feedback and suggestions for improvement are welcome.