Center for Information Technology Services

Emergency Notification System Goes Live


As noted in the previous issue of CITS Bits, the tragic events at Virginia Tech prompted action on an emergency communications system for UMB.  At the request of President Ramsay, the Center for Information Technology Services (CITS) researched available technologies and recommended a quick-response, mass-broadcast electronic system that would be used to alert campus Faculty, Staff and Students (as well as their family members and alumni who elect to register), in the event of a life-threatening event.  Based on this research, UMB acquired the Roam Secure system, which has now been implemented on campus under the name UMB Alerts.  It is an externally hosted system, with no hardware located on campus and no need for users to install any software.
 
How Does It Work?
In the event of a major incident on campus, an alert will be sent that can be received by anyone with a cell phone that has text messaging capability.  Alerts will also be sent out to pagers, Blackberry-type devices and ordinary email accounts, but text messaging is expected to reach the largest number of people in the shortest amount of time.  The Roam Secure system is capable of delivering up to 18,000 text messages per minute!

How Do I Know I’m Included?
If you are a current student, faculty or staff member, and your email address is in the Campus Directory, your account has already been created.  Simply go to the UMB Alerts website www.alert.umaryland.edu.  In the left-hand column, click on “Send Password.”  On the next screen enter your UMB email address and click “Send.”  Within 24 hours you will get an email from UMB Alerts with a randomly-generated password.  Log in using your UMB email address and this password.  You will then get a data-entry page where you will be able to change this password, enter additional contact information about yourself, etc. 

If you are not in the Campus Directory but would like to receive campus emergency notifications (e.g., community members, alumni, and family members of students), your registration process is quick and easy:  At the UMB Alerts website click on the red “Click Here to Register” button.  Fill in the appropriate information on the page, including your choice of password, click “Continue,” and you’ll be good-to-go.

What If I Still Have Questions?
Visit the UMB Alerts Support page at http://www.umaryland.edu/helpdesk/umbalerts.html and click on the link entitled "Using the UMB alert system."  If the documentation provided does not answer all of your questions, then feel free to contact the ASC Help Desk directly, at 410-706-HELP or help@umaryland.edu.