December 20, 2012

VU emergency notification system updated, expanded

AlertVU, Vanderbilt’s emergency notification system, is being expanded to include all members of the Vanderbilt community and is being strengthened by a new, more robust operating system.

AlertVU will be tested Jan. 2, 2013, and again on Jan. 15. The test messages will provide instructions on how users can customize their notification preferences.

“Our new system is designed to further strengthen our ability to reach as many members of the Vanderbilt community as possible as quickly as possible during a potentially life-threatening emergency,” said John Morris Jr., M.D., associate chief of staff and chair of the University Emergency Preparedness Working Group. “We strongly encourage all students, faculty and staff to update their personal information in the system beginning Jan. 2 so they receive alerts using methods most likely to reach them.”

AlertVU was launched in 2008 to rapidly notify Vanderbilt students, faculty and staff in the event of an immediate threat to safety, such as an approaching tornado or an active shooter. The original system required users to sign up to receive alerts.

With the upgrade to the system, all members of the Vanderbilt community will be automatically signed up to receive alerts via their Vanderbilt email addresses and their campus phone lines, if they have phone lines. All users will be able to enter additional phone numbers such as cell phone numbers for text messaging and home phone numbers. The system is capable of sending notices to virtually any communications device the user chooses.

Although much of the data from the previous system has been transferred to the new system, users are strongly encouraged to verify and update their contact information and preferences after Jan 2. Data in the existing system have been frozen. Users will be able to log-in after receiving the Jan. 2 message to update or add new contact information. Faculty and staff will log-in using C2HR; students will log-in using YES.

In the event of an emergency, AlertVU is one of the ways members of the Vanderbilt community will receive information. The University homepage will continue to be the primary location for all information and ongoing updates. Other existing systems, such as the pager system used by the Medical Center, campus security notices, electronic message boards, sirens, other campus and Medical Center websites and social media, will continue to be used as part of the University and Medical Center’s overall emergency communications strategy.