Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

    UTSA debuts new emergency panic system: Alertus

    All students will be able to access the alertus button on their task bar. Ethan Pham, The Paisano

    Over the summer, UTSA’s Office of Business Continuity and Emergency Management (BCEM) and Office of Information Technology (OIT) collaborated to launch an emergency communication tool called “Alertus.” The new feature allows the UTSA community to utilize computers campus-wide to communicate quickly and effectively with the UTSA Police Department.

    BCEM Director Lorenzo Sanchez expressed that the safety of the entire UTSA community is the ultimate concern and that Alertus will improve students’ and faculty members’ communication with campus police.

    “Our Desktop Notification platform allows us to display emergency messages via a scrolling banner or ticker across shared UTSA computers in common areas,” Sanchez said. “We’ve moved from one-way communication to two-way communication.”

    According to the UTSA Campus Alerts website, the new tool has been installed on all OIT-managed classroom computers, including those in common meeting spaces.

    The button is located on the taskbar at the bottom-right corner of computer screens and is also available as a yellow icon on desktop screens. In order to activate the system, students must select the e-panic button and a new window will open. The top of the new window will read “Request Emergency Assistance,” and there will be multiple fields to fill out.

    There are only three fields that are absolutely required: building room, room number, and incident type. However, the more details given, the easier it is for officials to determine the correct steps to take. After filling out the information in each field, select “Send Alert,” and UTSA Police Dispatch is immediately notified.

    “This new feature provides another opportunity for the UTSA community to quickly connect with the Police Department,” Sanchez said. “As technology improves and products become available, we will continue to evaluate new options.”

    Aside from Alertus, several other safety features are available. The UTSA Campus Alerts website and mobile app are useful resources that circulate information regarding campus operations and provides tips on how to prepare for emergencies. The feature allows students to direct dial to UTSA Police emergency as well as non-emergency, if they need immediate assistance, security services–such as safety escorts to vehicles at night–or to report crimes. There is also a weather notification hotline that can also be reached directly from the app to stay informed during inclement weather.

    UTSA Police (Emergency): 210-458-4911

    UTSA Police (Non-Emergency): 210-458-4242

    Campus Closure/Weather: 210-458-7669 (SNOW)

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