Results of the 24 March emergency notification test

& EMU Alerts Tests, Faculty/Staff, General, Students.

During the March 24, 2011 test of the EMU Emergency Notification System (ENS) we asked you to confirm that you’d received the test message and tell us how you received it. Over 120 of you responded. Many of you confirmed that you’d received the test message multiple ways–through the Via Radio HEARO devices, through a browser pop-up alert on your computer, through a text message on your cell phone, etc.–and we appreciate that too. Each confirmation from you gave us a better picture of how our ENS system works.

And the system does work! Messages are delivered quickly and widely. More than eighty percent of those who responded received an emergency notification within three minutes of the test beginning.  Keep in mind these are response rates: many of those who received the messages didn’t respond.

The Crisis Management Preparedness Team (CMPT) will be reviewing these results and making plans to further improve communication speed and coverage. We welcome your ideas and suggestions. You can contact Jack Rutt at or by calling 540 432 4478 (x4478 on campus).

Also, if you haven’t signed up for EMU Alerts–the cell-phone text message portion of the ENS–please do so by visiting .


Figure 1: Count of respondents by time of first notification receipt.

There were 123 respondents to the survey with a majority (101) stating they had received the notification within 1-3 minutes from the onset of the test. The next highest numbers of respondents (13) were in the 4-10 minute range andthe remaining nine were beyond the 11 minute time range.

Figure 2: Percentage of respondent who received notification within three minutes, by vector of first notification receipt.

Multiple vectors were used to disseminate the alert. Over two-thirds of those who received notification within three minutes noted Via Radio alerts (44%) and text messages (21%) as the primary vectors.

Figure 3: Count of respondents who received notification at any time, by role and vector of receipt.

For all recipients, at any time, Via Radio was  the primary vector for faculty and staff; text messages were the primary vector for graduate and undergraduate students.

Other Feedback

A variety or respondents provided feedback. Seven indicated affirmation for the test without any critical feedback. Most provided constructive observations, while a few were not so generous. Samplings of the majority of the observations received were:

  • Computer Pop-ups were continual and excessive.
  • Via Radio has static after activation.
  • Via Radio location required exposure to potential harm to read if an intruder was present.
  • Via Radio too loud.
  • Via Radio not loud enough.
  • Untrained in the operation of Via Radio and/or unfamiliar with the term “Via Radio”.
  • Bad time for alert test.