VT Alerts test to take place Sept. 20
National FEMA emergency alerts system test will occur on Oct. 3
Editor's note: The VT Alerts test was originally scheduled for Sept. 13, but was rescheduled for Sept. 20 due to the possible effects of Hurricane Florence on campus operations.
Virginia Tech will conduct a full-scale test of its VT Alerts system Thursday, Sept. 20 on the Blacksburg campus, as well as all university facilities located in six regions across Virginia.
The test will occur between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m.
VT Alerts is the university’s emergency notification system, and it is used to communicate critical information with the Virginia Tech community in the event of emergency on campus. VT Alerts are issued when there is a need for community members to take immediate protective action, university closures, or during system-wide tests in the fall and spring semesters.
When a VT Alert is sent out, the information is communicated with the community via electronic message boards (Blacksburg only), emails to vt.edu addresses, and social media updates. Individuals may also subscribe to receive the information via a VT Phone Alert, VT Desktop Alert by visiting the VT Alerts website.
Those with a Virginia Tech PID are eligible to subscribe to VT Phone Alerts, which can be sent to a cell (by voice or text message), home, and/or office phone, or a non-Virginia Tech email address. Subscribers are able to choose up to three preferred contact methods for VT Phone Alerts. However, individuals should make sure to provide only their current and direct contact information.
Users without a Virginia Tech PID are eligible to subscribe to VT Desktop Alerts or VT Twitter Alerts. VT Desktop Alerts are available to users who have downloaded an application to their personal computer. VT Twitter Alerts are sent through SMS text message and do not require a Twitter account to subscribe.
All community members should expect to receive duplicate messages. This redundancy is intentional to ensure important information reaches as many people as possible in the shortest amount of time.
Students and employees are strongly encouraged to log into the VT Phone Alerts website to update notification preferences and verify contact information prior to the Sept. 20 test.
While in the system, users can also choose up to three regions in which to receive notification. The available regions include:
- Blacksburg (Virginia Tech main campus, Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine);
- National Capital Region (Northern Virginia Center in Falls Church, Va.; Marion duPont Scott Equine Medical Center in Leesburg, Va.; Middleburg Agricultural Research and Extension Center; Alexandria Center; Occoquan Watershed Monitoring Laboratory in Manassas, Va.; Virginia Tech Research Center – Arlington);
- Richmond (Virginia Tech Richmond Center);
- Hampton Roads (Virginia Tech Hampton Roads Center, Virginia Beach; Virginia Tech Hampton Roads Center, Newport News);
- Roanoke (Roanoke Higher Education Center, Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine and Research Institute);
- Abingdon (Southwest Virginia Higher Education Center); and
- Danville (Institute for Advanced Learning and Research).
Individuals who have subscribed but do not receive a phone alert during the test should first log in to verify that their record is correct and then contact 4Help at 540-231-HELP (4357).
In the event of an actual emergency, individuals must be aware of their surroundings and take immediate responsibility for their personal safety and security. Initial VT Alerts messages will provide basic information on the nature and location of the emergency, as well as instructions for what to do. Subsequent VT Alerts messages or first responders will provide additional instructions and updates about the incident until the all clear is given. Detailed information, when available, will be posted to the university homepage.
Visit the VT Alerts website for more information or to sign up.
FEMA Test of the Emergency Alert, Wireless Emergency Alert Systems: Oct. 3
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) will conduct a nationwide test of the Emergency Alert System (EAS) and Wireless Emergency Alert (WEA) on Wednesday, Oct. 3 at 2:18 p.m. EST. The WEA portion of the test will begin at 2:18 p.m. EST and the EAS portion will follow at 2:20 p.m. EST.
The test will assess the operational readiness of the infrastructure for distribution of national emergency or disaster messages. This is the first national WEA test to cell phones.
The will be sent out via text message, radio, and television. The message will be a Presidential Alert and will read “THIS IS A TEST of the National Wireless Alert System. No action is needed.” The test will be sent through IPAWS.
Questions about the tests can be directed to Emergency Management at 540-231-4873.