CSU Tests Emergency Notification System

COLUMBUS, Ga. -- Columbus State University will test its new emergency notification system, CougarAlert, on Wednesday with a message delivered quickly to thousands of e-mail addresses and phone numbers.

The Dec. 19 test will be only for faculty and staff. A broader test, including an emergency drill and student notification, is planned for spring.

With a single phone call, CougarAlert allows CSU officials to schedule, send and track personalized e-mails and voice messages.

The university bought the system during the summer, and officials spent the fall collecting and compiling emergency contact information from students, faculty and staff. Each group was asked to update online their emergency contact information to ensure the system’s effectiveness.

As of Dec. 17, more than 6,000 students have signed up for the system, and more than 18,000 phone numbers and e-mail addresses have been entered for students, faculty and staff.

“We’ve had an amazing level of participation from students signing up for CougarAlert,” said University Police Chief Rus Drew.

CougarAlert will be used only in the event of an emergency. The system, powered by a product called Connect-ED, complements the university’s current emergency preparedness procedures and gives CSU another information tool during a crisis. The CSU home page on the Web, CougarNet and local media outlets will also be used to inform faculty, staff and students about an emergency.

Preparedness and notification are important components of the university’s newly revised emergency action plan, now online at http://police.colstate.edu/emergencies.asp.

The Dec. 19 message will clearly state it’s only a system test. No action will be required. For more information, go to http://www.colstate.edu/CougarAlert.

For more information, call University Police Chief Rus Drew at 706-568-2022.