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SPU-Alert: When Every Second Counts

Demaray Hall with Spring tulipsTragedies such as Hurricane Katrina and the Virginia Tech shootings sent shockwaves through our nation. The resulting confusion caused by these events raised questions about notifying large populations during an emergency.

For Seattle Pacific University and other university campuses, it has become essential to have a system that can quickly notify the campus community — all students, faculty, and staff — in the event of an emergency. SPU-Alert is that system.

Multiple Options

The SPU-Alert System allows SPU officials to send nearly simultaneous messages via cell phone text messaging, email, and telephone (voice recordings are sent to home, residence hall, and office phones).

The use of multiple, rapid communication options will enable SPU to get warnings and instructions directly to students, faculty, and staff.

How to Help

Due to the importance of this topic, SPU invites parents to talk with their students about SPU-Alert and to encourage students to share appropriate notification information, especially cell phone numbers (if available).

Areas in which parents can encourage students include:
  • SPU-Alert sign up.* Students can quickly and easily update their notification information with multiple email addresses and cell phone and telephone numbers. To do so, they will need to log in to the Banner Information System and select their Personal Menu.

  • Emergency contacts. It’s important that SPU knows who to contact in an emergency. Students should review who they’ve listed as emergency contacts in Banner, and should consider adding multiple contacts (i.e., parents, siblings, and grandparents).

  • Additional health info. Students can voluntarily share personal health information in Banner for use by emergency responders, such as SPU security officers and campus health professionals. This information might include allergies, special mobility needs, or specifics about emergency contacts.
*While SPU-Alert is intended to primarily contact students and employees, students can choose to add parent contact information.

Next Steps

Late in Spring Quarter, Seattle Pacific will conduct a systemwide test of the SPU-Alert system. To be effective, all students need to provide appropriate personal contact information for notification, including their cell phone numbers.

Email addresses for on- and off-campus students are already added to SPU-Alert. Residence hall phone numbers have also been added. However, cell phone numbers, alternate land-line phone numbers, and additional email addresses for all students are still needed.

Encouraging students to take a few moments now to update this information could make a difference down the road — when every second counts.

To learn more about emergency planning at Seattle Pacific University, visit the Emergency and Crisis Management Plan.

For more information about SPU-Alert, contact the Office of Safety and Security at 206-281-2922 or securityinfo@spu.edu.

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