UW-Green Bay will be conducting fire drills on Tuesday (Sept. 30), with a rain date of Wednesday the first. Separate fire drills will take place for the Weidner Center, Kress Center, Facilities Management and the University Union. All the academic buildings will be tested simultaneously along with campus emergency notification systems including GB Alert, NetNotify and the campus public address system. (If you have not signed up for GB Alert, you are encouraged to do so at www.uwgb.edu/publicsafety/GBAlert/index.html).
UW-Green Bay officials are working with private service providers to correct a problem that arose during Thursday’s tornado warning exercise and affected communication with about 700 (less than one-fifth) of the subscribers to the GB Alert system.
The issue became apparent shortly after the UW-Green Bay Office of Public Safety joined in the statewide readiness drill at 1:45 p.m. Emails to all faculty, staff and student accounts went out promptly, directing drill participants to seek shelter away from glass on the lowest levels of their buildings or in interior locations. At the same time, Public Safety also activated a test of the GB Alert messaging system, which in the event of campus emergency sends text or email alerts to those students, faculty and staff who have voluntarily subscribed. While many GB Alert subscribers received their test alert instantaneously, as designed, cell phone users with Cellcom service did not. UW-Green Bay Chief of Police Tom Kujawa says a technical issue involving the University’s third-party message relay vendor and the Cellcom system appears to be the culprit. Along with delaying messages to some subscribers, the system-to-system hiccup led to a send/re-send loop that delivered the same message multiple times to some users before the system could be reset. The third party vendor, Public Safety and Cellcom worked together through late evening until the repeated message issue was resolved. Kujawa says the vendors now believe they have diagnosed and corrected the problem, which had not occurred during previous GB Alert tests. (A follow-up test to confirm the fix could take place as early as today.)
In the meantime, subscribers who experienced problems with their text alerts Thursday are reminded that the University will always use overlapping and multiple channels — including emails, web notifications, screen alerts on network computers, local news media and public address announcements — as part of its overall emergency notification plan. Kujawa also extends thanks to those users who reported the problem and were patient in awaiting a resolution.
Police Service Associate Joe Rozum and our campus GB Alert system were featured in a Monday (April 29) story that ran in the Green Bay Press-Gazette. As we mentioned here yesterday, the report, from the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism, looks at the percentage of students, faculty and staff who have signed up to receive emergency text messages at various UW System campuses around the state. Two of the schools — Platteville and Stevens Point — use automatic enrollment for their text alert system, and are among the three campuses with participation rates above 50 percent. Here, the rate is about 33 percent — something Rozum and others say they’d like to improve. You can read more about the system and its importance in the full WCIJ story, or the shorter Press-Gazette version, by clicking the links below:
Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism
Green Bay Press-Gazette
Signing up for GB Alert, by the by, is quick and easy. Here’s how: www.uwgb.edu/publicsafety/gbalert
Student journalist Michael Duenkel did a nice job for the Fourth Estatee in offering a comprehensive overview of the safety factors that figure into cancelling classes. He also looks at the ways the University communicates this news, including (and here’s another plug for an important service) the GB Alert text-messaging system. Read more.
Already distributed to campus but repeated here for the record: Public Safety will be conducting a campuswide fire drill Tuesday, Sept. 18, with a rain date of Wednesday, Sept. 19. Campus Police remind you to evacuate immediately when the alarm sounds, moving at least 100 feet from the building once you are outside. Do not take elevators and make sure you wait until the all-clear announcement before you re-enter the building. The GB Alert Emergency Notification System will be used to signal the all-clear. If you haven’t signed up for GB Alert, now is the perfect time — simply go to www.uwgb.edu/publicsafety/GBAlert/index.html and fill out the form.
Our friends at Public Safety are issuing a reminder to sign up for GB Alert, the notification system that allows students, faculty and staff to register and be notified via text message or email in the event of the campus emergency. Need more incentive? GB Alert now will be used to announce campus closures, as well. To sign up before the serious snow flies (again), visit Public Safety’s website.