KALAMAZOO—Western Michigan University has switched to a new emergency alert system to increase both the speed and the number of communication options available to alert students and employees when a critical situation is unfolding on campus.
The new product, which is scheduled for activation Tuesday, June 11, is by Rave Mobile Safety, and it employs preprogrammed text or voice messages that will deliver information either to a cell phone or a landline. The new system will deliver emergency information to any currently enrolled WMU student or active WMU employee.
Features of new system
The Rave system will operate under the University's established WMU Alert name. According to Cam Vossen, campus emergency management administrator, those who have already registered a preferred emergency number with WMU Alert will have that number automatically transferred to the new system, and that number will be the one used for emergency notifications.
Anyone who has registered the number of a text-capable phone in WMU Alert will receive messages about emergency situations in text format. Landlines or cell phones without text capability will continue to receive messages as voice alerts, but the person answering the phone will no longer need to trigger that message by speaking into the receiver.
Vossen says the University is urging all enrolled students and active employees to activate, update or verify the phone preference listed in their WMU Alert account by following these simple steps when the system goes live June 11:
- Log into GoWMU.
- Click on the yellow and red WMU Alert triangle.
- Enter the preferred phone number.
- Indicate preference for text or voice messages—or both.
- Click submit.
The change in service is expected to substantially increase the number of students, faculty and staff using the system, and as a result, improve emergency communications on campus. The University does not charge campus community members for the WMU Alert service. However, cell phone carriers may charge users to receive text messages, so before registering a message preference, registrants may want to check their phone plans. For anyone with unlimited text messaging, there will be no charge. Others may be charged if a WMU Alert message is one that exceeds a monthly allotment of messages.
About WMU Alert
WMU Alert was launched in August 2010 as a Reverse 911 phone system that, during times of a extreme emergency, would use a mass call option to send voice messages to all numbers registered to receive them—up to 4,000 calls per minute. The number of people at WMU registered to receive such emergency notification warnings on their office, home or cell phones now stands at more than more than 14,000. The Reverse 911 system will remain in place through the transition to the new Rave system.