Warnings a reminder to eye campus alert system

Andrew Harvey // Special to Western News

Alert WesternU went beyond its regular testing recently as a campuswide tornado warning was issued July 19 as dark skies, high winds and heavy rain targeted the region, forcing the campus community to take shelter.

Recent severe weather warnings across the region should serve as a reminder to the campus community to get to know an emergency notification system already in place, Western safety officials stressed.

Alert WesternU went beyond its regular testing recently as a campuswide tornado warning was issued July 19 as dark skies, high winds and heavy rain targeted the region, forcing the campus community to take shelter.

“In these instances, every minute is precious,” said Dan Redmond, Director (Campus Community Police Service). “Operationally, the system provided Western with a secure and reliable platform to immediately communicate the warning, augmented by Environment Canada warnings that are issued.”

Launched in September 2018, the mass emergency tool has been set up to alert the university community in the event of imminent danger, campus evacuation or closure and/or weather emergencies. Western also has a campus siren that, if heard, alerts you to seek shelter immediately.

With the new school year just weeks away, Redmond added it’s an important reminder for everyone on campus to be aware of, and sign up for, Alert WesternU.

While all Western students (including those at the affiliated colleges), faculty and staff are automatically enrolled in the system via their @uwo.ca email address, Redmond encourages everyone to take a few moments to customize their Alert WesternU account, by using their Western ID login credentials, and add a phone number.

You can add up to five additional contact methods – three text numbers and two additional email addresses – to receive the alerts in the manner you choose. The Everbridge app, available for Android and Apple devices, can also be downloaded to receive messages.

“Alert WesternU customization is encouraged by adding a mobile number (text) as the preferred method of delivery,” said Redmond, who added having a simple and direct way to communicate with the campus community ensures persons will remain out of harm’s way during emergency situations.

“During critical events, lives can be saved by clear messaging ensuring accurate information is being disseminated quickly for anyone impacted. We encourage faculty, staff and students to become partners with us in their own safety and security.”