Eagle Alert: Frequently Asked Questions
What is Eagle Alert?
Eagle Alert is a mass notification system comprising e-mail, voice and text messaging that is designed to send emergency messages to the university’s students, faculty and staff in a matter of minutes. It will be used in conjunction with existing university avenues of emergency communication, including outdoor warning sirens, public address systems, news alerts to media outlets and the university’s Web page, www.usm.edu.
Southern Miss students, faculty and staff have the option to participate by providing a primary mobile phone number for text messages and up to three other phone numbers for voice messages. The Eagle Alert system is provided through SchoolCast™, a product of High Ground Solutions of Birmingham, Ala.
Who can sign up to receive Eagle Alerts?
All Southern Miss students, faculty and staff who are currently in the university’s system with a valid campus ID are enrolled in the Eagle Alert system.
Why do I receive Eagle Alert voice and text messages?
This system will provide instantaneous information regarding situations that pose an imminent danger and that require immediate action by students, faculty and staff. Because individuals are in multiple locations, both on and off campus, at any one time, the Eagle Alert system provides the most efficient and quickest way to notify the most number of people at one time.
How does Eagle Alert work?
The Eagle Alert system is a Web-based product where information is maintained on a private and encrypted Web site. Participants do not need any special hardware or software to sign up or to receive messages. It is a service that can disseminate emergency messages through:
- E-mail: An alert message will be sent to official university e-mail addresses. Participants can also specify a secondary e-mail address for receiving these alerts.
- SMS text messages: Faculty, staff and students may choose to register one cell phone number for receiving SMS text messages through Eagle Alert.
- Voice messages: Participants may choose to register up to three additional phone numbers. Voice messages will be sent to these phone numbers.
Will I receive emergency messages if I don’t sign up with Eagle Alert?
If you are a student, faculty or staff member you will receive emergency messages via your official university e-mail address and university phone, if applicable. While it is strongly recommended that you provide at least one phone number (cell phone is recommended) for Eagle Alert, students, faculty and staff can opt-out of the personal phone and text message portion of the service, beginning on Feb. 1, 2013. To do so, go to www.usm.edu/safety/eagle-alert and log in using CampusID (same as SOAR login) credentials. Although you may opt-out of those portions of the service, participation by campus email and phone, if applicable, is required.
What kind of alerts will be sent?
The Eagle Alert system will be used to only to send information about emergencies that require immediate action. Examples of alerts might include severe weather, building evacuations, an active shooter or hazardous chemical spill.
The system may be used to provide additional information or an all-clear announcement. Eagle Alert also will be tested periodically. Less urgent messages will be sent using the campus e-mail system.
Can I opt out of the system, and can I update my contact information?
You can log into Eagle Alert at any time to update your contact information. Whenever your phone number or alternate e-mail address changes, it is important that you update this information with Eagle Alert to ensure you continue to receive alerts through the system. While it is strongly recommended that you provide at least one phone number (cell phone is recommended) for Eagle Alert, students, faculty and staff can opt-out of the personal phone and text message portion of the service, beginning on Feb. 1, 2013. To do so, go to www.usm.edu/safety/eagle-alert and log in using CampusID (same as SOAR login) credentials. Although you may opt-out of those portions of the service, participation by campus email and phone, if applicable, is required.
Are there any costs involved if I sign up for the system?
Depending on your cellular provider and plan, small charges may apply to text messages. You should check with your mobile phone provider to determine any applicable costs.
How soon will I be able to receive emergency messages after I update my information?
You will be able to receive emergency messages within 24 hours of sign-up. The system is updated daily.
Will my contact information remain secure, and will it be used for any other purposes?
The information collected for Eagle Alert is securely maintained and will not be shared. It is only used for notification of emergencies requiring immediate action. You will not receive advertising or spam on your personal phone.
Who manages Eagle Alert?
Eagle Alert is managed jointly through the Offices of the Vice President for Student Affairs, University Police, iTech, the Safety Department and University Communications.