Mobile App Grants Public Safety Ability to AlertUs
For students who ignore their laptops’ update notifications and requests to restart, it is time to update their computers for a new emergency notification system.
The Department of Public Safety released the implementation of AlertUs, an emergency desktop override system that can be sent out to all University-owned student computers on the university network, on Feb. 25.
AlertUs can send out a flash alert to student laptops during a “horrific event, such as an active shooter or a major weather emergency,” according to Sergio Oliva, assistant director of Administrative Services for Public Safety.
“When we activate the siren, our alert, it’ll override your desktop,” Oliva said. “If you’re on campus on our network and you’re in class with a teacher, whatever you’re doing, it’ll override it.”
The push notification was sent out to students the week before spring break, requesting that students restart their computers to install the software.
This software is an extension of the University’s Pirate Alert system, which before the update, was capable of sending texts, emails and phone calls in the case of a campus emergency.
The messages are also accompanied by the on-campus siren in the event that students must “shelter-in-place,” according to Oliva.
Katia Elisias, a junior social work major, said that AlertUs is necessary because of the large number of Pirate Alert notifications that she has received since coming to Seton Hall.
“You never know when things could happen,” Elisias said.
Oliva said that Public Safety initiated this system with the students that have not signed up for text message Pirate Alerts in mind.
“This is another tool that we can push, that would notify the masses,” Oliva said. “I know some professors like students to turn off their cell phones. That sort of kills the opportunity to get emergency texts, but usually students have their laptops.”
He added that, “We had two small pilot groups that we tested the software with just to make sure it works flawlessly.
Oliva said that students can expect an AlertUs test notification accompanying the semi-annual security siren test in the fall.
“This gives us that much more time to ensure that the incoming freshmen have it installed on their machines, (and) the current students have it installed on their machines,” Oliva added.
Salvador Juarez, a senior diplomacy major, said that the need for AlertUs “On a scale of 1 to 10 is about a 6 or 7, but it is convenient. It is needed in the case of emergency.”
Brianna Bernath can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org