SUNY NY Alert FAQ

Here are some answers to Frequently Asked Questions about SUNY NY Alert.
 
Q. What is SUNY NY Alert?
SUNY NY Alert is an emergency alert system based on the NY Alert system established by the New York State Office of Emergency Management (NYSOEM).  SUNY campuses can use the SUNY NY Alert system to send emergency and safety information and protective action messages, to students, employees, and visitors to protect lives and well-being, protect assets and minimize campus disruption.

Q. Who is authorized to send emergency/safety information?
The SUNY NY Alert system can be used only by authorized campus personnel to send emergency messages, including emergency protective actions, warnings and post-incident information related to life safety issues to the campus community. SUNY NY Alert will not be used by any party for any political, financial or personal gain, advertisement or advocacy.  All parties that use SUNY NY Alert will adhere to the professional ethics standards promulgated by the State of New York.
 
Q. What type of emergency/safety information will be broadcast?
Alert notifications are allowed pertaining only to events in the categories identified below or other "life threatening" situations. "All Clear" and/or additional follow-up messages pertaining to end of event or additional instructions regarding the event are acceptable. General notifications of campus non-emergency events or activities are not acceptable via the SUNY NY Alert service.

Classification and Acceptable Usage:

  • Bomb Threat - based on intelligence that indicates the threat is credible.
  • Civil Disturbance - large group disrupting normal campus activities.
  • Fire - large-scale fire to building(s), wildfires, local community or industry that endangers campus.
  • Hazardous Material - dangerous material, chemical, biological, nuclear spreading from a contained area.
  • Major Road Closing/Incident - unanticipated event that would disrupt safe passage to and from campus.
  • Medical Emergency - pandemic or event with mass casualties.
  • Personal Safety - situations that include use of weapons, violence, perpetrator(s) at large, active shooter, hostage situation or missing persons. Any situation, on or off campus, that, in the judgment of the Chief Administrative Officer or designee, constitutes an on-going or continuing threat to person or property.
  • Suspicious Package - reasonable belief that a package may contain chemical, biological or nuclear substance that would cause harm to persons or property.
  • Utility Failure - a major disruption or damage to utilities including gas, electrical or water.
  • Weather - severe weather conditions to include flooding, snow/ice/cold, thunderstorm, wind, tornado or hurricane.

Q. Is it mandatory for campuses to use SUNY NY Alert?
No.  Campuses can opt to have their own solution, but participation in this project is highly encouraged because it is free.  NYSOEM has worked with major cellular companies to allow for priority handling of the calls and text messages. NYSOEM has also developed a system to prevent overloading a campus e-mail server when emergency messages are sent.
 
Q. Is it mandatory for students, faculty and staff to participate?
No.  Although students, faculty and staff are automatically enrolled, there is an option to opt out. Participation is voluntary and strongly encouraged. Those who opt out will have the opportunity to participate at any time by signing up on-line.
 
Q. Will SUNY NY Alert replace other means of communication that the College use to notify the campus community of emergency information?
No.  SUNY NY Alert will augment the other means, which include emails, Website, television, posters, etc.
 
Q. If I participate in SUNY NY Alert what will my personal information be used for?
Some SUNY campuses have reported that students and employees resist giving their contact information because they do not want to be bombarded with e-mails from the campus. The information that you provide will only be used by SUNY Plattsburgh’s NY Alert system for situations that poses a serious health or safety concern to the campus community and a scheduled system test each semester.  Your information will not be shared or used for any other campus information broadcasts.

Q. Does it matter how many phones and in what order I enter them when I sign up?
No. You will be allowed to enter up to three telephone numbers, two email addresses, one fax number and four text message numbers. They can be your local, work, home, cell or what ever number you want to enter. It doesn't matter what order either since the system will dial them all at about the same time.

Q. What happens if I don't answer the phone when an emergency notification is sent out?
If you have voice mail, the message will be left in your voice mail box.  If you do not have voice mail, the system will redial each number up to three times before moving on to the next number.

Q. How do I sign up for SUNY NY Alert?
All students, faculty and staff are automatically enrolled into SUNY NY Alert with their campus assigned e-mail address. Additional means of being notified may be added by logging into my.plattsburgh.edu and clicking on the NY Alert link.  Those who do not have access to the portal and are affiliated with organizations located on campus will be allowed to enroll in SUNY NY Alert and should contact Michael Caraballo, Emergency Management Director, at carabamj@plattsburgh.edu.

Q. How do I update my information?
You can go to my.plattsburgh.edu  and update the information as often as possible. The latest information will override any previous information you have entered. However, be as accurate as possible.

Q. Will there be a test of the emergency notification system?
Yes. SUNY Plattsburgh will conduct a test of the system each semester.

Q. Will it cost me anything to participate in SUNY NY Alert?
No. SUNY NY Alert is being provided as a FREE service to campuses so there is no enrollment fee.  However, specific contract details are still being worked out with cell/text service providers, so airtime charges may apply for some participants.

Q. When I update my contact information, will the changes be applied immediately to SUNY NY Alert?
No. The names and contact information of individuals are submitted nightly, however the NYSOEM system only uploads the information on Monday and Thursday afternoons after 4 p.m.  If you sign-up or update your information after the list is sent, your name and information will be uploaded at the next scheduled time.
 
 
 
If you have additional questions, please contact any of the following individuals for answers:
 
Michael Caraballo
Emergency Management Director
SUNY Plattsburgh
(518) 564-4950
michael.caraballo@plattsburgh.edu
 
Arlene Sabo
Chief, University Police
SUNY Plattsburgh
(518) 564-2022
arlene.sabo@plattsburgh.edu

Keith Tyo
Executive Assistant to the President
SUNY Plattsburgh
(518) 564-3930
keith.tyo@plattsburgh.edu

Contact Information

For more information, please contact:

Michael Caraballo
Emergency Management Director
Phone: (518) 564-4950
Fax: (518) 564-7986
Email: michael.caraballo@plattsburgh.edu