WUPD tests emergency iAlert system

To update iAlert preferences go to your myWashburn account click on the student life tab. The link is located below.

Julia Eilert

At 10 a.m. Friday, Oct. 6, the Washburn University Police Department will be sending out a message to test their iAlert system.

The iAlert messages are used to inform Washburn students of potentially dangerous situations on or around campus. Students can sign up on my.washburn.edu/ialert to receive these messages, where they can choose to get messages for Washburn Tech and/or Washburn University.

“When you’re in an environment like ours, where there’s not a PA system, there’s not a quick, easy way to get messages to people in an emergency,” said Chris Enos, chief of Washburn Police. “[This system] is it. On our end of it, the ability to do it quickly and easily is absolutely key.”

A redundant system is used for iAlert, where an email, text message and telephone call are all sent out to ensure that the message is delivered in the case of one platform failing.

“There will always be small problems, so we’re always trying to work through those issues when we see them, and for the most part they’re usually pretty minor,” said Enos. “It’s never going to be perfect, we know that, but we can always try to do the best we can and make improvements to it.”

The messages have a 144 character limit. After a message is drafted, it is sent to someone on the executive level to be approved before it is sent out.

“People definitely check their text messages a lot, so I feel like it’s pretty good,” said Allex Howey, sophomore nursing major, “I definitely think it’s a good thing– it’s helpful. I kind of depend on it. I never wonder if they’ll send a message out because they always do. It’s really dependable.”

While iAlerts are only sent out if there’s a present danger, the Washburn Police also send out emails and bulletins to keep students updated on what happens around campus.

“You’re only going to get these messages if it’s a life-threatening emergency,” said Enos. “We’re not going to send an alert for every single thing that goes on around here. When you get it, we want you paying attention to it. When you get one of those, something is going on that you need to pay attention to.”

It’s encouraged that all Washburn students sign up for iAlert. The number that is used to send the messages is 785-670-4999. If there are problems while signing up or when receiving messages, the Washburn Police can help fix any issues.