Update your emergency contact info

Last Friday a tropical disturbance in the northern Gulf of Mexico prompted the Impact Weather company to issue an advisory to Texas Medical Center (TMC) institutions that predicted a 30 percent chance of a tropical cyclone developing and coming inland along the upper Texas coast on Sunday. The disturbance eventually dissipated over the northwestern Gulf, so Rice and the other TMC institutions did not have to implement their plans for hurricanes and other severe storms.

If a hurricane is ever headed toward the Greater Houston area, Rice’s Crisis Management Team will begin preparing the campus several days prior to the storm’s impact. Those preparations include notifying Rice students, faculty and staff of what to expect and what to do.

To ensure that you get such critical messages, now is a good time to update the emergency contact information listed in your Esther account. The Crisis Management Team uses that database to send texts and voice messages about emergencies on campus.

Because the Esther accounts are private, only students, faculty and staff can add their cellphone number to their accounts.

“We encourage everyone to make sure that their most current emergency contact information is posted so they can receive timely messages if a dangerous situation on campus warrants urgent communication for their safety and well-being.”

Employees and students can update their emergency contact info at esther.rice.edu. If they don’t know the PIN for their account, they can click on the “Forgot PIN” feature; employees can also send an email to people@rice.edu for help with their PIN; students can request help with their PIN at registrar@rice.edu.

All personal contact information is kept confidential. Faculty and staff with questions about how to fill out the form can contact Human Resources at 713-348-2514 (press 6 for an HR representative). Students can contact the Office of the Registrar at 713-348-4999 (press zero to speak to a representative).

Anyone who does not want Rice to contact them during an emergency can check the “opt out” box at the bottom of the Emergency Notification System form, but this could prevent them from getting critical notices, including campus closings. State law requires that students and employees renew this option at the start of every academic year if they want to continue to not participate in the emergency alert system.

The 2013 Atlantic hurricane season is in progress, and there’s a 70 percent probability of 13-19 named storms and six to nine hurricanes, so don’t wait for a storm to update your emergency contact information.

About B.J. Almond

B.J. Almond is senior director of news and media relations in Rice University's Office of Public Affairs.