WarnMe test a success

| 05 November 2008

On Wednesday, Nov. 5, at just after noon, UC Berkeley successfully tested its new WarnMe individualized emergency warning system. "It went off without a glitch," said Capt. Margo Bennett of the University of California Police Department.

In all, 2,308 members of the campus community who had signed up for emergency alerts were randomly selected to receive the WarnMe test message. Test recipients were notified by e-mail earlier this week. Bennett reported that 67 percent responded to the WarnMe message as instructed, indicating that they had received it.

"This was an excellent response and it confirms that we will be able to inform the campus community and provide important guidance should we ever need to deploy WarnMe in an emergency," said Bennett.

The WarnMe service allows students, faculty and staff with Calnet IDs to sign up to receive emergency notifications and instructions by telephone (including office, home and cell phones), e-mail, text message and TTY service. In Wednesday's test, the WarnMe message reached 1,306 telephones that were answered, with another 876 messages sent to voicemail. It also successfully delivered 2,527 e-mails and sent 1,599 text messages, said Bennett.

The WarnMe system was activated in August. To receive a WarnMe message, you must sign up and select how you wish to be contacted. To enroll, to change your contact information, or to learn more about the system, go to warnme.berkeley.edu. Currently, more than 17,500 individuals have signed up.

The mass notification service is the latest addition in the campus's continuing efforts to improve safety and emergency response. WarnMe is 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. Public tests of the WarnMe system are expected to be scheduled twice a year.

In all emergencies, natural disasters and other crises, information will be posted on the campus homepage at berkeley.edu 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.