UC Berkeley Press Release
New alerting and warning system launches today
BERKELEY – The University of California, Berkeley, announced today (Monday, Aug. 25) that it is launching a new alerting and warning service that can provide immediate notification to individual students, faculty and staff of situations on or near campus that may pose an immediate threat to their safety and provide instructions on what to do.
Called "WarnMe," the new service can contact individuals by phones, text messaging and email to help keep the campus community safe in an immediate crisis, such as a major accident, natural disaster or an assailant on campus, said campus officials.
The new mass notification service is the latest addition in the campus's continuing efforts to improve safety and emergency response. WarnMe will be used in conjunction with other elements of UC Berkeley's emergency communications system, including the campuswide siren system that is tested on the first Wednesday of each month.
In all emergencies, natural disasters and other crises, information will be posted on the campus homepage and on the off-site emergency Web site at emergency.berkeley.edu. Information will also be recorded on the toll-free emergency number, 1-800-705-9998, and broadcast on the campus radio station, KALX 90.7 FM.
The new WarnMe system uses contact information provided by students, faculty and staff. Emergency alerts and instructions on what to do can be sent via cell phone, text messaging, email, and office and home phones, including TTY devices. In all, individuals may choose to receive messages on up to seven communication devices.
The service is an opt-in program, and a campaign is underway to encourage the campus community to sign up. Students were able to enroll beginning in late July. Faculty and staff started to sign up over the weekend. Already, 11,200 on campus have signed up. A campus identification number is required to enroll.
Last fall, UC Berkeley Chancellor Robert J. Birgeneau charged a task force to plan and implement a phone and text-based alerting and warning system by the fall 2008 semester. WarnMe will be operational by the start of classes later this week.
To ensure reliable service around the clock, UC Berkeley is working with a commercial provider that specializes in rapid public notification and has redundant infrastructure located at multiple sites around the country.
More information on WarnMe is available at warnme.berkeley.edu.