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SUNY NY-ALERT Frequently Asked Questions
SUNY NY-Alert is a system to allow SUNY campuses to warn students, employees, visitors, and parents of an impending emergency and provide timely information to protect lives and minimize campus disruption. Messages can be received via cell phone (text and/or voice), telephone, email, and fax. Participants will need to sign up to receive notification alerts, and choose the format they would like to receive messages in at the time they sign up.
Authorized and trained personnel on SUNY campuses administer the SUNY NY-Alert system. They can send emergency messages, such as emergency protective actions, warnings and post-incident information, whenever needed. In the current phase of the project, these messages are sent to all the members of the campus population who have signed up for SUNY NY-Alert, but in Phase 2 campus personnel will be able to direct messages to specific targeted audiences, such as students or faculty.
The SUNY NY-Alert is a private-use implementation of the publicly-available SEMO service, NY-Alert. SUNY NY-Alert notification alerts are only visible to the campus community. SUNY NY-Alert integrates SEMO's Alert system with SUNY's ability to provide public and secured sign-ups at its various campuses.
SUNY NY-Alert is currently in use on 24 of the SUNY state-operated campuses and 28 Community Colleges, as well as System Administration and the Levin Institute. Additional campuses will likely use the system in the future.
Notification alerts are distributed via email, phone, fax and text messaging. It is recommended that campus notifiers select more than one gateway. Text messaging is the least reliable gateway choice.
Testing was conducted during the summer of 2007, using campus control groups to obtain detailed results for SUNY's implementation team. A Campus Working Group was formed early in the project to get immediate campus feedback and to guide the project's implementation. So far, testing has demonstrated very good results, with messages being distributed properly to all parties.
The expected rollout will occur in two phases. Phase 1 allows campuses to begin capturing emergency contact data for individuals beginning the week of Labor Day. SUNY has developed four different methods for the data to be collected, giving each campus the flexibility to decide what works best for them. During this phase, messages can be sent to the entire campus population. Phase 2, expected during the Spring 2008 semester, will allow campuses to identify specific target groups, for example only faculty or students. RSS message feeds to campus websites will also become available.
At this time, parents cannot sign up directly for campus notification alerts. However, students may provide their parent's phone, email or cell information as the student's secondary contact information.
Campuses are responsible for getting the word out among their populations. Some of them are using surveys, while others are sending emails to students with instructions, and others are distributing information with employee paychecks.
No. Students have the ability to opt out. The SICAS (Banner) solution will allow a campus to ask the student to participate later if they opt out.
Currently, the provider's standard charges will apply for voice notification alerts when cell numbers are called and standard charges will apply for text messages.
If your text messaging/cellular provider is not listed, it probably uses another provider's infrastructure to provide your service. You should select the provider whose infrastructure is being used from the list. To determine which provider this is, please consult your text messaging/cellular provider's bill or customer service department.
When a user completes the form on the public web application, they will be instructed to check the email account they provided for a confirmation email. They must open the email and click a link in it to confirm that the address is valid. Any records that have not been confirmed by the submitter will be cleared from the system weekly.
Yes. The campus is expected to review all new records, and can delete any that should not be added.
If automated authentication checking is not available, each campus determines who is affiliated with their campus.
Data is sent from SUNY System Administration to SEMO every Monday morning.
Yes, but they have a 30 day expiration date. If a record is not confirmed within 30 days, it is removed from the alert system. If your campus uses the public portal, check to make sure they check regularly for unconfirmed records.
System Administration is working closely with SEMO in developing SUNY NY-Alert, and provides SEMO a single point of contact for the entire SUNY system.
A list of categories, representing the most common types of notification alerts, was developed as a guide for campus notifiers. However, any emergency where the health and/or human safety on a SUNY campus is in question constitutes an "Emergency". The list that was developed is:
Only select, authenticated users have the ability to create and publish notification alerts.
An enrollee can register up to 3 phone numbers, and the system will try each number up to 3 times. This means that the system will try to call the enrollee up to a maximum of 9 times. When a call is answered, and the person answering presses a number (to confirm they are not an answering machine), the system will consider the enrollee contacted and attempt to remove the other registered numbers from the calling queue. Depending on circumstances, this means that not all registered numbers for an enrollee will necessarily be called.
The phone number displayed will be 518-292-6634. If your caller ID looks up the corresponding name, it will display "New York Alert" or "New York SEMO".
The system does NOT detect an answering machine or answering service. Unfortunately there is no standard on how long the system should wait until the phone is answered or how long the pre-set message should be. So, if a message was left, some participants might only receive part of the message, or none at all. The feature of "Press any number to receive this message" was incorporated to address this issue. The notification alert message will start immediately after a number has been pressed.
Yes. At the end of the message, you will be told, "You may call back at 518-292-6634 to retrieve this message." If you call this number, you will be asked to enter the phone number you received the message on (for verification). If it is valid, you will then be told to hang up, and NY-Alert will call you back to replay the message. Only the most recent message will be available for retrieval.
Yes. When the situation is resolved (storm has passed, for example), an "All Clear" type of notification alert will be sent.
Targeted notifications are private and appear only to the distribution groups selected by the notifier. Target notifications are not displayed publicly and do not activate the Emergency Alert System (EAS).
If you used the public application to sign up, contact your campus and ask them to delete your current record. Then resubmit your information through the public portal. This process is used to ensure that your record cannot be accidentally or purposefully overwritten by someone else. If you used the secured web application, log into the employee portal and resubmit your record. The new record will replace the existing record the next time data is sent to SEMO.