Special

University plans update to post-emergency reminder system

According to Tartan Surveillance Consultant J.W. Ramp, these RBDS test units will notify the campus of emergencies much later than current systems. Also, they may spy on you. (credit: Surveillance Consultant) According to Tartan Surveillance Consultant J.W. Ramp, these RBDS test units will notify the campus of emergencies much later than current systems. Also, they may spy on you. (credit: Surveillance Consultant)

University officials announced today that a new version of the emergency notification system — aptly titled Alert Later — would be rolled out next month. The update will enhance the current features of the system used to notify the campus community of emergencies, adding longer delays between e-mail and text message notifications.

This project continues the administration’s effort to communicate with the university’s members.

“With the new Alert Later system, we have brought our emergency communications system in line with what the world expects from Carnegie Mellon,” Vice President of Campus Affairs Michael Murphy said. “Our students and faculty are renowned for their poor communication skills and procrastination. By refocusing our efforts on delaying notifications, we’ve brought the alert system in line with the rest of the university.”

Some students have criticized the previous system, Alert Now, for not having a fast response time. “I trust the emergency alert system to keep me safe when there are emergencies on campus,” said Jonas Inkheim, a first-year computer science major. “When there was a fire in Wean Hall, I ignored the fire alarm, so I didn’t leave until I got my notification. I was almost consumed by the flames.” The updated system should reduce unreasonable expectations such as instant notification.

Initial tests of the post-emergency reminder system were successful, and officials expect to begin implementing it starting in late April. One beta-tester, Sammy Jordan, who was involved in both Alert Now and Alert Later development, expressed his satisfaction: “I was a little concerned back when we tested Alert Now about the half-hour delays. They seemed long for an emergency communication system. I’m happy to say that the improved hour-long delays in Alert Later are great for reminding me after an emergency is over.”

Members of the university community should remember to register for the Alert Later service at www.cmu.edu/alert. Officials aim to have registration open in the next week, but admit that the deadline may slip into next year.