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 improves safety with Reverse 911

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UTSA police department (UTSAPD), in conjunction with the office of Business Continuity and Emergency Preparedness, has committed to achieving the goal of improved safety on campus with their implementation of the new REVERSE 911 system. The system is an enhanced emergency telephone, text and email notification system for students, faculty and staff. REVERSE 911 is UTSA’s means of contacting the university community in the event of an emergency on or around campus.

“REVERSE 911 is set up to alert the most people in the shortest amount of time,” Donovan Agans, director of Business Continuity and Emergency Preparedness said. “We will also alert the people who are in the most imminent danger first, meaning the people who are at or around the area of the emergency.”

According to the REVERSE 911 Web site, once registered with the system, individuals will receive either a call, email and/or text message in the event of a campus emergency. The Web site can be found through a link on the Business Continuity and Emergency Preparedness Web site. The message will give pertinent emergency information and protective actions to participants. All three UTSA campuses will be covered by the REVERSE 911 system.

“In the event of an emergency at UTSA, we have broken the campus up into sub-groups such as students, faculty and staff, by buildings, housing areas, off-campus students, etc.,” Agans said. “Once the emergency has been reported, we will then decide which groups of individuals need to be notified first, and then the rest of the participants in the REVERSE 911 system will be notified.”

According to Agans, the REVERSE 911 system has 24 devoted phone lines which will be used in the event of an emergency. Should more students need to be notified by phone faster, an outside source that gives us up to 2,000 devoted phone lines is available for immediate use.

“Text messages will be sent to cell phones of participants who have registered their phone numbers within our system,” Agans said. “E-mails will also be sent to any address affiliated with UTSA, meaning student, faculty and staff member accounts.”

Agans adds that participants can also input a personal e-mail address into the system in case their UTSA e-mail account is not accessed often.

There are two ways to register for the REVERSE 911 system. The first is to log onto ASAP and access the Personal Information Folder, and then click on REVERSE 911-Emergency Alert Contacts. The second is to access the Business Continuity and Emergency Preparedness Web site via the UTSA homepage. Click on the REVERSE 911 icon and fill out the different forms available for the system in either English or Spanish. Print out either one of those forms and fill it out and take it to the UTSAPD office which is located in the Physical Plant building.

Once received, the information will be added into the system. Students who are registering for classes for a new semester should automatically be prompted to update their emergency contact information.

The newest applied version of the REVERSE 911 system that UTSA has in place was purchased around September 2007. The system was introduced to the university community, after the proper installation and set-up were completed. Students who registered in classes for Spring 2008 were the first to have access to the new system.

“We would really hope that students, faculty and staff would take the time to link into the communication assets we have in place for them to safeguard their own lives,” Agans said.

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