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SMC?to test security alert system this afternoon

Alicia Smith | Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Saint Mary’s students, faculty and staff will be receiving an e-mail, text message or phone call at 4 p.m. today as the College’s Emergency Notification System is tested, according to an e-mail sent to the student body last week.

Students received the e-mail one week prior to the test date to inform them when the test would be occurring and to explain what students could expect from the test.

“We try to test at least once per academic year. We do this to make sure the system works properly,” vice president of student affairs Karen Johnson said.

The test works by sending a message through the service the College contracts with. The message is sent to students cell phones and their e-mails addresses.

The system is in place to make sure that students know when emergency situations occur, Johnson said.

The College also tests the system “to make sure everyone is aware of the [it],” Johnson said. The test is run annually, and gives students a taste of what to expect should there ever be a real emergency situation.

The College has been using the system for the past two years, and Johnson said that the kinks encountered last year have all been worked out. One such kink was when students received alerts that a tornado warning was in effect for the area surrounding the College during the Spring 2008 semester. Students began calling College security, who informed them that it was a mistake.

Along with the Emergency Notification System, the College has online resources for students to use under emergency situations. The Belle Bulletin Board, found on Saint Mary’s College Web site, contains information about security alerts, as well as several Web sites and hotlines that students can contact if they are ever victims of a crime.

The College’s Web site also offers insight as to what students should do if an emergency situation should occur.

It contains information regarding the College’s Emergency Response Plan. It also has resources for students and parents in case of emergency. For more information about Students were asked to update their personal information with the College in order to make sure they receive the notification and Saint Mary’s Security will be able to contact students in a timely manner.