Stanford to conduct test of campus emergency notification system

Test Thursday will include activation of siren warning, text and email alerts

Stanford University will conduct a test of the campuswide AlertSU mass-notification and siren system on Thursday, Oct. 9, from noon to 1 p.m., according to a Stanford University Department of Public Safety official.

Messages will be sent via text message and email to members of the Stanford community. The test will also feature the activation of emergency sirens throughout the Stanford campus. The sirens will likely be audible in neighboring areas, including Palo Alto and Menlo Park, said Linda Saunders, a Public Safety administrator.

Stanford uses multiple methods to notify and communicate emergency information, including a mass-notification system that sends messages via text, email and/or phone to members of the Stanford community, and an outdoor warning system composed of seven sirens throughout the campus, according to the Stanford University Department of Public Safety website.

At the time of the test, the sirens will sound for approximately 60 seconds followed by a verbal message, Saunders said.

There are only 10 people — including the university president, the director of the Stanford News Service and the executive director of IT services — who are qualified to send messages.

Stanford is required by federal law to issue timely warnings whenever crimes specified in the federal Clery Act occur on campus or in the surrounding area. The purpose of the warning system is to alert the community to incidents and provide information on precautions people can take to keep themselves safe, according to the website.

In the event of an emergency activation, individuals on campus should follow the directions of the AlertSU messages unless doing so will place them in greater harm.

"When you become aware of a warning, make sure others around you are also aware of the potential danger. Do not respond to the scene of an emergency unless directed to do so. In addition to the possibility of becoming injured, your presence could interfere with the work of emergency response personnel," the website states.

If the sirens are activated, it is important to stop and listen for additional instructions; community members should be prepared to act either by evacuating the area or by seeking shelter in a secure location, Saunders added.

For more information on the university's AlertSU notification system, or to sign up for emergency alerts, visit the Stanford University Department of Public Safety website.

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1 person likes this
Posted by neighbor
a resident of another community
on Sep 30, 2014 at 10:44 am

This isn't news. Stanford has had this emergency notification system for years, and have been running regular tests of it all along. They announce each test before they run it.

1 person likes this
Posted by Wondering?
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 30, 2014 at 10:48 am

So .. how many times has this Alert system been used in the last year?

And exactly just what crimes constitute a basis for alerting the campus? A list of the crimes that justify alerting Campus (and Palo Alto) would be nice to know.

And what about Creek flooding? Although not likely to be considered a crime--wouldn't Stanford want to alert its students about a problem with the San Francisquito overflowing its banks, and flooding parts of Campus?

Like this comment
Posted by neighbor
a resident of another community
on Sep 30, 2014 at 10:54 am

"Wondering?" and everyone else who may be wondering..........

The answers to your questions, and many others, is at the URL given in the article. Here it is again:

Web Link

1 person likes this
Posted by Wondering?
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 30, 2014 at 11:06 am

The basic question--how many times has this system been used during the last year is not at that link.

It's quite possible that it has not been used at all, isn't it--other than to test?

So .. has anyone on Campus ever heard this system being used to alert students/Palo Alto, of a real emergency, such as a sexual assault?

1 person likes this
Posted by neighbor
a resident of another community
on Sep 30, 2014 at 1:15 pm

Wondering -- call or write directly to SUPD to get your questions answered.
Also call PA PD to get the same stats for the city

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