zotALERT – Emergency Alert System – Draft

Sign up for ZotAlertOne of several modes of emergency communication used at UCI, zotALERT is an emergency alert system that uses cell phone text messaging to quickly notify the UCI community with safety information. The system will not be used for routine announcements. However, zotALERT messages will be sent periodically to test the system and to promote emergency preparedness.

The ZotALERT text message system is complemented by the ZotMail email system, which is a mandatory element of campus emergency communications, as described on the ZotMail web site:

Emergency Communications through the ZotMail system

As part of the emergency communication plan, the Chancellor, the Provost/EVC , and the Vice Chancellor-Administrative and Business Services have the ability to use the ZotMail system to send email to all campus employees, all medical center employees, and all registered students.

Sign up for zotALERT

Students

Students are strongly encouraged to sign up for zotALERT messages. You will need a “text-enabled” mobile phone.

  1. Login to StudentAccess
  2. Click Contact Information
  3. Update your Mobile Phone and provide your cell phone number.

Faculty and Staff

Faculty and staff are also encouraged to sign up for zotALERT messages. You will need a “text-enabled” mobile phone.

  1. Login to PhUpdate
  2. Enter your mobile phone number in the Emergency Cell field.
  3. Click the Submit Change Request button.

Alertus Desktop Pop-Up Emergency Notifications

The new Alertus notification system enables UCI students, faculty, and staff to receive emergency messages (sent via zotALERT) as a pop-up message on their desktop or laptop.  To take advantage of this feature, install the program on your computer following the instructions below.  Please note that the Alertus software will be automatically installed on OIT-managed PC’s.

PC Installation

Mac Installation

Alertus Classroom Beacons

Alertus Emergency Alert Beacons have been installed in seven of the largest lecture halls on campus.

  • Bio Sci III Room 1200
  • Engineering Hall Room 1200
  • Engineering Lecture Hall Room 100
  • Humanities Instructional Building Room 100
  • Schneiderman Lecture Hall Room 100
  • Physical Sciences Lecture Hall Room 100
  • Social Science Lecture Hall Room 100

Moving forward, alert beacons will be installed in additional classrooms in a phased approach over the course of the next few years.

Anytime UCIPD issues a campus zotALERT, the beacon will make an audible sound, have flashing lights, and the text of the zotALERT can be seen on the screen. This is just another way we are enhancing emergency notification on campus and will help our faculty and TAs receive timely information while in the classroom during emergency situations. There are no new actions that need to be taken in regard to the beacons. The alerts should be treated exactly the same way as the zotALERT text message. Follow the instructions provided via the beacon, text message, email, and/or desktop alert (i.e. evacuate, secure-in-place, stay away from area, etc.).

For more information contact UCIPD Emergency Management at 949-824-7147 or awidney@uci.edu

 

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zotALERT Troubleshooting

There are a variety of reasons that may be the cause of not receiving zotALERT text messages. Please take the following steps to resolve the problem with your particular cellular phone number.

It is critical that you take the time to correct the problem if you wish to receive future zotALERTS.

  1. Verify that your emergency mobile number is correct.
    Faculty and Staff
     must visit www.uci.edu/phupdate and Students must visit www.reg.uci.edu/access/student/welcome/ to verify that the number listed as your emergency number is correct. We have found instances where the number entered was a home telephone (landline), was a disconnected number, had the incorrect area code, was one digit off, etc.
  2. Ensure that the mobile number listed can receive text messages. 
    If you do not use text messaging on a regular basis, confirm with your cellular service provider that your service plan includes text messaging. Plans vary among cellular service providers. Not all plans include text messaging. If you do not receive a ZotALERT message, the first troubleshooting step to try is to verify you are able to receive text messages by sending yourself a text message, or asking someone else to send you one.*For users of Google Voice, you must enter your phone number provided by your cellular carrier. Google Voice does not directly accept text messages from service providers who use short codes to send text messages.
  3. Ensure that your cellular device does not have text messaging blocked.
    Some cellular carriers will allow peer-to-peer text messaging, but they may block text messages from third party mass marketing services or zotALERT messages.  For the zotALERT text messages to arrive successfully, no blocking should be on the account.
  4. Ensure that you have sufficient text message credits available.
    If you are on a pre-paid or pay as you go cellular plan, ensure that you always have sufficient credits available to receive a zotALERT text message.

Please contact the OIT Help Desk at oit@uci.edu or by phone at (949) 824-2222 if you have questions.

zotALERT Removal Policy

zotALERT Text Messaging is an opt-in service. To receive text messages you need to add your mobile number using one of the methods listed under “Sign Up for zotALERT” above.

If you have signed up for zotALERT text messages and want to stop getting the alerts, follow the steps below.

Students

  1. Login to StudentAccess
  2. Click Contact Information
  3. Remove your number from the Mobile Phone field.

Faculty/Staff

  1. Login to PhUpdate
  2. Remove your number from the Emergency Cell field.
  3. Click the Submit Change Request button.

If you cannot remove your phone number, please contact the OIT Help Desk for assistance at (949) 824-2222.

Automatic Removal Policy

  • Students who have not enrolled in courses for the past two quarters and are not enrolled in the current quarter (or summer session) and are not a current employee or sponsored UCInetID holder will be removed from the zotALERT service.
  • Students who become employees will continue to receive zotALERT messages.
  • Employees who leave the University will be automatically removed from the zotALERT service when their directory entry is removed which is approximately 60-90 days after their separation date.
  • Retirees who no longer wish to receive zotALERT pages need to use the PhUpdate utility to remove their Emergency number.

zotALERT Mailing List

zotALERT text messages are followed up by an email sent to the zotALERT mailing list. All campus employees, all medical center employees, and all registered students are on this mailing list as part of the Emergency Communication Plan. There is no way to opt-out of the zotALERT mailing list.

zotALERT Details

An enhancement has been made to zotALERT that will send email copies of zotALERTs issued in emergency situations to all current faculty, staff and students. This will provide an additional notification mechanism to text messaging, which is not 100% reliable. It will also help get the word out to those who do not have cell phones or find notification through text messaging ineffective. Redundancy is an important component of emergency communication strategy.

Currently the system is provided by Mir3, http://www.mir3.com/. The service is fully hosted off-site by Mir3 in redundant secure data centers so it does not rely on campus systems.

Respond to zotALERT Test

UCI periodically tests the zotALERT emergency text messaging system to verify the mobile phone numbers we have on file, and that the system is operating properly. When a zotALERT test is conducted, we send a follow up email to ask you to let us know if you did or did not receive the test message.