A test of UGAAlert, UGA’s emergency mass-notification system, is scheduled for Feb. 6. The test is being planned as part of Severe Weather Awareness Week, sponsored by the Georgia Emergency Management Agency, the governor’s office and the National Weather Service.
The UGAAlert system only will be used for tests and when there is a severe threat to the public safety and health of the entire campus that has not been contained or controlled and when immediate action is required. Examples include 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 e-mail 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 Dec. 6. Users are encouraged to login to www.ugaalert.uga.edu/ before the Feb. 6 drill to ensure this information is correct. Users also can add alternate methods of contact, including up to three phone numbers that will receive voice or text messages, and two e-mail addresses. The test may cause some disruption to UGA e-mail 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 e-mail address is registered, also put in your personal e-mail 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 also are encouraged to program (706) 542-0111 into their caller ID as it is 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 online (www.uga.edu) as well.