UGA Emergency Notification Registration Website

 

UGA Emergency Notification Registration Website

 

Frequently Asked Questions

Return to UGAAlert

What is UGAAlert?

UGAAlert is the name chosen by UGA for the emergency mass notification system made available through the vendor, Blackboard-Connect-ED. Effective communication is one of the major challenges in emergency management. UGAAlert will be used to improve our ability to communicate prior to, during, and after emergencies. UGA students, faculty, and staff with a valid MyID can register up to three telephone numbers and two email addresses to receive emergency alerts. The system can push out thousands of messages within minutes.

When will UGAAlert be used?

UGAAlert will only be used 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 on the part of the recipient group(s), (e.g. chemical spills impacting public health, tornado warnings, active shooters, etc.).

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, rumor control, situations where notification is merely a convenience or other situations when ArchNews is the most appropriate communication method.

UGAAlert will not replace ArchNews for non-urgent messages.

UGAAlert will be tested twice a year
—during the February severe weather drill and again near the beginning of the fall semester.

Additional information about emergency situations when UGAAlert is activated will be posted on the UGA Home Page at www.uga.edu.

Who is administering UGAAlert?

UGAAlert is administered by the Office of Emergency Preparedness (OEP). However, several UGA departments are involved in the project including the UGA Police Department (UGAPD), Public Affairs, and Enterprise Information Technology Services (EITS). Only authorized representatives from OEP, UGAPD, and Public Affairs can send emergency messages using UGAAlert.

Who is eligible to enroll in UGAAlert?

All UGA students, faculty, and staff with a valid MyID and password are automatically entered into the UGAAlert system.

In the event that you are a UGA student, faculty, or staff member and see the error message: "The MyID you entered is not eligible for self-registration to UGAAlert", you will need to contact the EITS Helpdesk at 706-542-3106 or helpdesk@uga.edu for further evaluation of your account information.

Departmental, Organizational, or Test MyIDs that are not associated with a specific individual are not eligible for UGAAlert.

How does the UGAAlert System work?

The system is a fully hosted and managed system that requires no hardware or software. Basic contact information is automatically entered into the system and registrants are encouraged to verify that the information is correct and the UGAAlert messages will go to the listed phone numbers and/or email addresses. Registrants enter up to three telephone numbers and two email addresses to receive emergency alerts. Emergency messages are broadcast to all contact numbers and email addresses provided.

How is the system capable of sending so many messages at once?

Blackboard Connect has service level agreements with redundant telecommunications providers which allow the company to initiate over 2,000,000 60-second voice calls per hour. Blackboard Connect has pre-purchased capacity to send over 17 billion voice messages per year but currently uses less than 2% of the contracted capacity daily. Blackboard Connect has an open architecture which allows the company to increase additional capacity as the client base grows.

Is it difficult to register?

No. It is very simple and straightforward. The university automatically enters basic contact information for all faculty, staff, and students. You contact information on file may not be the best way to contact you during an emergency.  You should review your contact information at www.ugaalert.uga.edu and make sure you account includes the best phone numbers and e-mail addresses on which to send you a message about an emergency situation.

How many phone numbers and email addresses can I put in when signing up?

Each registrant can reflect up to three phone numbers and two email addresses. Typically, most registrants need only reflect one or two phone numbers (e.g. cell and office) to ensure they will be able to receive emergency announcements but more are permitted (up to three).  Each person can receive text messages on one phone.

Can I sign up more than one time for UGAAlert?

Yes. Since you register using your MyID, you will be recognized upon reentry. This allows you to edit your information at any time. Once you are in the system, you must "opt out" your information if you want to opt out for awhile and register again at a later time.

When I logged in using MyID, my name was not reflected the way it appears on my official records...why?

UGAAlert accesses information available from the UGA MyID database, not your official student or personnel records. The name reflected should be the one you used when you applied for your MyID. A name discrepancy will not prevent you from receiving UGAAlert messages since the system calls all reflected phone numbers and sends email notification to the email addresses you enter. However, if you want to change your information in the UGA MyID database, please contact the EITS Help Desk at (706) 542-3106 and press "2" to speak to a representative.

What is the "primary number" in UGAAlert?

The primary number is the main phone number associated with your account.  Primary phone numbers do not receive phone calls before other phone numbers.  Due to the way the Blackboard Connect system works, a primary phone number is required.

If you only want text messages and no voice phone call.  Please list your cell phone number and check the text box.  Then list 999-999-9999 as your 1st alternate phone number and chose your first alternate phone number as your primary phone number.

Can I reflect phone numbers for people other than myself, family members for example?

Your registration is linked to your MyID and UGAAlert is intended as a service for only UGA students, faculty, and staff. Although numbers will not be validated, you should consider whether other individuals will want to receive emergency notification messages specific to UGA (tornado warnings, etc.). If you elect to include the phone number of a friend or family member, please encourage them not to try to contact you when emergency messages are first issued. Immediately following an emergency, all phone lines should be kept open for emergency use. It is also important that your line is open to receive additional warnings or an all clear notification.

Can I include "long distance" phone numbers?

Nationwide numbers are accepted. The system will not accommodate international numbers.

Should I register if I am located at an off-campus location?

Yes. UGAAlert is set up to send out emergency information for the Athens campus, the Gwinnett campus and the Griffin Campus.  We do not have the ability to monitor emergency situations including weather issues for other locations.  Other locations should consult their local emergency management office for information about emergency notification system in their area.

Can I change my contact information after it is first entered?

Definitely. At any time, you can log into the UGAAlert system at www.ugaalert.uga.edu and change your contact information. Since you register using your MyID, you will be recognized upon reentry. Just type over the current information with your updated information and select "Submit" to update. Once you are in the system, you must "opt out" your information if you want to opt out for awhile and register again at a later time.

If I change my mind and do not want to participate can I cancel?

Yes. At any time, you can log into the UGAAlert system at www.ugaalert.uga.edu and chose to opt out of the system. The opt out box is located at the bottom of the screen just above the button that says, "Submit My Information." However, we encourage you to remain in the system unless you will be leaving the university.

How often will I receive alerts?

UGA is committed to reserving this system for emergencies requiring immediate action on the part of the UGA community. Examples include chemical spills, tornado warnings, and dangers requiring a building or campus-wide lockdown. For other, less urgent-events, the Archnews listserv will be used instead. Following an initial warning, the system will also be used to provide additional information or to issue an "all clear" announcement. However, to be sure the system is working properly and to remind enrollees to check their contact information for accuracy, two test messages will be sent each year. One will be initiated in connection with the annual statewide severe weather drill in February and the other will occur near the beginning of fall semester to ensure incoming freshmen know how the system works.

Will I receive a call every time there is a fire alarm in a residence hall?

No, all residence halls are equipped with audible fire alarms. Should the audible alarm fail, we are able to contact only the students assigned to the impacted residence hall through "groups" established within UGAAlert. However, should an actual fire impact a large portion of campus, including pedestrian and vehicular traffic, a campus-wide alert will be issued using UGAAlert.

Will alerts be issued 24/7?

Yes. Because it is impossible to track which UGA students, faculty, and staff may be on the campus at any given time, when an emergency situation warrants use of this system, the warning will be issued regardless of the time of day or night. For example, if a tornado warning is issued for Athens-Clarke County at 3am, UGAAlert will be used to send emergency notification to all "Athens" registrants. Even if you live in a surrounding county that is not under a tornado warning, the numbers you reflected will still be called. It is important to keep this in mind when entering your emergency contact information.

Will I receive information other than emergency warnings from UGAAlert?

No, UGAAlert will only be used 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 on the part of the recipient group(s), (e.g. chemical spills impacting public health, tornado warnings, active shooters, etc.). For other, less urgent-events, the Archnews listserv will be used instead.

However, to be sure the system is working properly and to remind enrollees to check their contact information for accuracy, two test messages will be sent each year. One will be initiated in connection with the annual statewide severe weather drill in February and the other will occur near the beginning of fall semester to ensure incoming freshmen know how the system works.

Can I receive UGAAlert text messages on my cell phone?

Yes. You can choose to receive both a voice phone call to your cell phone and a text message to your cell phone. If your cell phone supports SMS messaging you can receive the message to your phone as an SMS message. Check with your cell phone carrier to find out if there are any charges for text messaging.

How do I sign up to receive UGAAlert text messages on my cell phone?

Login to UGAAlert using your MyID username and password. Next to "Cell Phone Method," choose "Text." If you want to receive both text messages and voice messages to your cell phone, select text and voice.

A confirmation message will be sent to your cell phone within 48 hours. Confirmation messages are sent out between 7am and 3pm. The confirmation message will read the following: You are now confirmed to receive alerts from us. For more info, text reply "HELP" or "STOP UGAALRT" to opt-out.

The messages will come from the phone number 23177. Please save this phone number and program it into your cell phone as UGA Alert Text so you can quickly recognize this number as an incoming text message from UGA Alert.

I did not receive a confirmation message. What happened?

Please check with your cell phone provider to find out if your device accepts text messages. You may also want to check with your provider to see if text messaging has been enabled. You may need to subscribe to a text messaging plan in order to receive or reply to text messages. Contact your cell phone provider for information regarding charges for receiving text messages.

I did not receive a confirmation message because my phone wasn't text enabled. I have since contacted my mobile phone provider to enable it. Do I need another confirmation message sent?

No, if your SMS phone was already submitted to our database, you should be confirmed to receive SMS alerts from us. However, you may also test to find out by texting the word "SUBSCRIBE" to 23177 and you will receive a reply with the following:

This phone number has already been opted in. For more info, text reply "HELP" or "STOP UGAALRT" to opt-out.

How do I opt out?

You may opt out at any time by changing your UGAAlert options at www.ugaalert.uga.edu.

If you want to opt-out from receiving text messages you may change your options at www.ugaalert.uga.edu or you may also opt out by texting the words "STOP UGAALRT" to 23177.

What if I opted out of text messaging, but later decide I would like to opt-in again?

You must make sure that you have correctly chosen to receive text messages to your cell phone at www.ugaalert.uga.edu. If your cell phone number is still reflected, text "SUBSCRIBE UGAALRT" to 23177. You will receive a confirmation text message from UGAAlert verifying that you have successfully subscribed.

If I change cell phone providers do I need to opt-in again to receive text messages?

No. Once your phone number has been opted-in, it stays registered within the system. You do not need to opt-in again, but you should update your cell provider in your UGAAlert information at www.ugaalert.uga.edu.

Who will have access to the information entered into UGAAlert?

UGAAlert is administered by the Office of Emergency Preparedness (OEP). However, several UGA departments are involved in the project including the UGA Police Department (UGAPD), Public Affairs, and Enterprise Information Technology Services (EITS). Only a few authorized individuals from OEP, UGAPD, Public Affairs can access your information and send emergency messages using UGAAlert.

What steps are taken to ensure the information I submit is secure?

UGA’s EITS staff designed and maintains the local registration site utilizing all of UGA’s existing security protocols. The system databases are housed on the UGA mainframe which has many layers of security. Logging in with your UGA MyID means you are identified by your University ID number, not your Social Security Number. Additionally, a login is required to view information in the UGAAlert system and this access is restricted to a few individuals with a need to know. All data transmitted to and from UGA utilizes Secure Sockets Layer (SSL). The vendor, Blackboard Connect retains an external security auditing firm to perform audits to discover potential security threats, assess risks, and provide solutions for patching and managing those risks. All Clients of the Messaging Services are required to enter a unique username and password, or other security access requirement. The password is encrypted.

Will my information be sold to telemarketers?

No, neither UGA nor Blackboard Connect will share or sell contact information belonging to clients.

Are there any costs involved if I sign up for UGAAlert?

The only costs you may incur for emergency messages you receive via UGAAlert will be from your cellular service provider. For example, you may incur charges from your provider a) if you elect to receive text emergency messages and your plan does not include this feature; b) if you have a "pay as you go" plan for voice messages; and c) if you exceed your allotted plan minutes for voice calls or text messages. You should check with your cellular service provider to determine what, if any, costs may apply. Also, please keep in mind that limited emergency and test messages will be sent using this system so any costs outside your plan should be nominal.

What number will be reflected on my caller ID when a warning is issued?

The phone number reflected on your caller ID for voice phone calls will be 706-542-0111. You should program this number into your phone so it will immediately recognize it as an urgent call.

The phone number 23177 will show up in your caller ID for sms text messages from UGAAlert.

What email address will be reflected when a warning is issued?

The "from" address will reflect the following: University of Georgia [ugaalert@uga.edu]. Please set your spam filters to allow mail from this address.

Doesn’t this notification system overwhelm the phone systems (cell and land lines)?

No, Blackboard Connect utilizes proprietary algorithms designed to maximize the available local switch network for best success of delivery. However, because UGA’s incoming line capacity is limited, calls to UGA’s 542/583 numbers may be delayed more than those made to cell or home phones. Lines reserved for outgoing calls are not impacted by the incoming emergency warning calls.

What should I do if I receive an emergency call or email from UGAAlert?

You should take the warning very seriously as this system will only be used when there is an immediate threat. Follow the instructions provided and take immediate action. Never attempt to go past barricaded areas.

What other emergency notification systems are used at UGA?

UGA uses a number of redundant notification systems including outdoor emergency sirens (primarily for weather related events); the main UGA home page (www.uga.edu), public address systems located in certain campus buildings; Archnews (a campus-wide email system able to send messages to approximately 50,000 individuals in 20 minutes to one hour); AM radio station 1650 maintained by the UGA Police Department; NOAA weather radios located in many UGA buildings; telephone trees (where assigned individuals call others with emergency messages); UGA cablevision emergency announcements and over police cruiser PA systems when warranted.

After a warning is issued, how can I find out more details?

It is imperative to keep phone lines open during an emergency situation. As soon as additional information is available, it will be reflected on the UGA home page (www.uga.edu). When immediate additional instructions are warranted (an all clear message or need for decontamination, for example), they will be issued using UGAAlert.

What else should I know about emergency preparedness?

Although college campuses are usually safe places, emergencies and disasters do occur. Individual preparedness is the cornerstone of emergency preparedness and response. Every individual should have an emergency kit and emergency plan-including a family communication plan. The plan should be tested periodically. Each campus office and dorm room should have a NOAA weather radio. Visit www.ready.gov for information about individual emergency preparedness. Visit www.prepare.uga.edu for more information on emergency preparedness at UGA or contact the Office of Emergency Preparedness at 706-542-5845 or ugaalert@uga.edu.

Who can answer questions regarding UGAAlert?

Contact the Office of Emergency Preparedness at 706-542-5845 or ugaalert@uga.edu.

If I did not sign up, was my information placed into UGAAlert?

Yes. The University of Georgia’s (UGA) Emergency Preparedness and Communications Committee (EPCC) was established in May of 2007 by President Adams to assess the Universitys emergency preparedness, crisis communication and public safety capabilities in the wake of the tragedy at Virginia Tech. One of the recommendations put forth by the EPCC was to mandate participation of faculty, staff and students in UGAAlert.

What information is automatically placed into the system by UGA?

For students, the phone number listed in their records as their local phone number and their UGA e-mail address were placed in the system. For faculty and staff, the office phone number from their human resources’ record and their UGA e-mail address were placed in the system. For students, faculty, and staff who were already in the system, no changes were made to those accounts.

How can I update or change this information?

You can change, review, or update your information at any time by going to www.ugaalert.uga.edu. You must sign in with your UGA MyID. Changes that are recorded in UGAAlert are uploaded daily to Blackboard/Connect-ED, our notification provider.

Can I decide not to be included in the UGAAlert system?

Yes. At any time, you can log into the UGAAlert system at www.ugaalert.uga.edu and click the box at the bottom of the page next to "Click here to opt out of UGAAlert." However, we encourage you to remain in the system unless you will be leaving the university.

If I was already in the system, do I need to update my information as well?

No changes were made to any accounts that were already in the system. While we encourage you to periodically verify that your information is updated and accurate, accounts that were already in the system were not affected.

Am I required to update or verify my information periodically?

As a part of the MyID password update process, users are required to review their information in UGAAlert. This means that you will be required to review your information twice a year. This process will not take much time and will assist us in gathering accurate information on how to contact you during an emergency.

Is there a Purge Process for removing users from UGAAlert?

Yes. It is necessary to purge users out of the UGAAlert system who are no longer affiliated with the University of Georgia. Purging users allows the system to function more smoothly as bad e-mail addresses and phone numbers are removed from the system.

Users will receive an e-mail letting them know that they are set to be purged from the system one week prior to their purge date. Users who are set to be purged, but wish to remain in the system should contact the Office of Emergency Preparedness at 706-542-5845 or prepare@uga.edu. Not all requests to remain in the UGAAlert system will be honored.

A student will be purged from UGAAlert if a student:

1. Is not currently enrolled; and

2. Was not enrolled one semester ago; and

3. Was not enrolled two semesters ago; and

4. Has not updated their information in UGAAlert for over 4 months; and

5. If the student is an employee, meets the employee purge criteria

An employee will be purged from UGAAlert if the employee:

1. Has been terminated for over three months; and

2. Has not received a paycheck from UGA in the past 7 months; and

3. Has retired from UGA; and

4. If the employee is a student, meets the student purge criteria

 

 




 

 

 

Hodgson Oil Building, Suite 200 South
286 Oconee St.
Athens, Georgia 30602-1977
Phone (706) 542-5845 | FAX (706) 542-4664 | Email
www.prepare.uga.edu