Rice’s Crisis Management Team will test the university’s Emergency Notification System Sept. 1 around noon.
The test will include a text message to cellphones so that students, faculty and staff can confirm they’re receiving notices on the cellphone number they provided as their emergency contact number.
The test will also include announcements over outdoor speakers that have been installed across campus to enable the Rice University Police Department to broadcast messages that can be heard outside during an emergency. The outdoor warning system is not intended to be heard inside buildings.
“It’s vitally important that we have a way to communicate timely, critical information to you to protect your safety when we experience an emergency on campus,” said Vice President for Administration Kevin Kirby, chair of the Crisis Management Team, in a letter to the Rice community Aug. 25. He reminded students and employees to make sure the emergency contact information in their Esther account has been updated by 5 p.m. Aug. 30 to ensure that it will be in the database in time for the Sept. 1 test.
Students, faculty and staff can check the cellphone number that is currently listed as their emergency contact number by logging in to their personal account at esther.rice.edu and clicking on the link to the Rice University Emergency Notification System near the top of the main menu. Anyone who does not want Rice to contact them during an emergency can check the “opt out” box at the bottom of the form, but this may prevent them from getting notices intended to protect their safety.
The text during the test will come from Rice’s special emergency notification phone number (713-348-8888 or SMS short code 24639). Kirby recommended that students and employees add the phone number and SMS short code to their cellphone contacts so they will be able to recognize messages from the Rice Crisis Management Team.
He said that anyone who doesn’t receive a text message from the Crisis Management Team around noon Sept. 1 should send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org that states their name, cellphone number and the name of their cellphone service provider so the team can investigate why the communication didn’t reach them.
He also encouraged everyone to learn more about emergency notifications, crime-prevention efforts, safety tips and other helpful information by reading Rice’s annual security report on the RUPD website under “Quick Links” at rupd.rice.edu.
“We appreciate your helping us keep you safe,” Kirby said.