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SUNY NY-ALERT FAQ

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 Emergency Management Office (SEMO). 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 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. SEMO has worked with major cellular companies to allow for priority handling of the calls and text messages. SEMO 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. Students, faculty and staff will have the ability to opt out, but 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. Why do I have to sign up for SUNY NY-ALERT?

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. Individuals are informed that this data will not be stored in Banner with the goal of having a higher participation rate.
 

Q. Once I sign up will I ever have to sign up again?

Yes. You will be asked to sign up for SUNY NY-ALERT at the beginning of each semester. This may sound unnecessary, but this is actually for your protection. Many faculty, staff, and students change cell phone numbers/companies each year and do not submit their update information to important lists. We also have faculty, staff and students who leave for various reasons each semester (graduation, transfer to another campus, work) and this is the only way currently in existence to manage the list. Signing up only takes a few minutes, but the time spent could one day prove useful to you in the event of an emergency.
 

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?

If you are a student or employee of SUNY Plattsburgh, you can sign up for SUNY NY-ALERT through BannerWeb . It will be the first thing you see under the Main Menu.

Faculty and staff who use the SUNY Employee Services Portal can also sign up for SUNY NY-ALERT through the Portal. If you do not have access to BannerWeb, then you will have to complete a form and submit the information to University Police. Individuals affiliated with an organization on campus will be granted permission. If there is an issue, the requestor will be notified as soon as possible. (To receive the form, please contact University Police at SUNY Plattburgh, 518 564-2022.)

Q. How do I update my information?

You can go into BannerWeb and update the information as often as possible. The latest information will override any previous information you have previously 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. The test during the fall 2007 semester will occur in November. Notification of the test will precede the actual test.

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. Will I automatically be enrolled in SUNY NY-ALERT once I sign-up?

No. The names and contact information of individuals who sign-up for SUNY NY-ALERT through BannerWeb are submitted on Monday afternoons after 4 p.m. If you sign-up after the list is sent, your name and information will be sent the following Monday. This is the procedure that SUNY established with SEMO.

Contact Information

If you have additional questions, please contact any of the following individuals for answers:

Michael Caraballo
Emergency Management Coordinator
SUNY Plattsburgh
(518) 564-7975
mich@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