New emergency alert system gives more efficiency, options

Rave Alert, an emergency alert system, has been newly implemented this semester as a more efficient method of communicating important alerts to the university community.

Many students are already familiar with the previous emergency alert system, Everbridge, which enabled Public Safety and the Communications department to distribute important information quickly via text messages and voice mails. Rave Alert, however, will improve and speed up the process.

“We needed a mass notification solution to successfully handle emergency situations and daily communications,” said Joe Mulnix, chief of Public Safety.

“We selected Rave Alert, as its design and features enable our public safety team to communicate easily and cost-effectively with our faculty, staff and students,” Mulnix said.

Currently, the system will continue to focus on communicating to students any necessary emergency information, such as inclement weather conditions or safety concerns. Public Safety will continue to send out trial text messages approximately once a semester.

Students should note that text messages from Rave Alert will be from one of two numbers: 67283 or 226787. Students may receive voicemails and emails as well, depending on the urgency of the situation.

Public Safety will continue to work on applying these new features to expand the kind of information being distributed, beyond just emergency alerts. For example, day students received a short announcement via Rave Alert on the Day of Prayer, notifying them of the parking garage’s unique schedule for that particular day.

Rave Alert could be the next step in improving faculty-student communication, and is already used at other universities, such as the University of South Carolina, where faculty use Rave to communicate more efficiently with students. Rave’s expanded features could include giving professors the ability to send text announcements to select groups of students, such as particular classes or majors.

While Rave Alert will continue to use all three methods of distribution—text messages, emails and voice mails—the Communications department and Public Safety want to enhance the text messages aspect as they continue to improve the efficiency of distributing the alerts. “What we’re learning with [this generation] is that text messaging is often more efficient for them, and that they’re paying more attention to text messages,” Mulnix said.