The University of New Mexico will test its emergency alert system Tuesday at 11:02 a.m.
The test will include a minute-long siren and alerts sent through all LoboAlert outlets including text messages, emails and RSS, meaning all websites that are constructed through the UNM web content management system will pick up the alerts automatically, said Byron Piatt, UNM’s emergency manager. He said the process of using message boards, like the ones in the Student Union Building, to display the alerts is also in the works.
Prior to sounding the sirens, a LoboAlert will be sent out to warn the UNM community that it is a drill — during an real emergency, an alert would be sent out after the sirens sound off, Piatt said.
The siren on main campus will sound for 30 seconds independently until the siren on south campus joins for 30 seconds. Then the main campus siren will shut off, and the one on south campus will also sound on its own for another 30 seconds. When the test is over, an alert will be sent out, giving recipients the all clear, Piatt said.
Conducting the test at exactly 11:02 a.m. prevents the sirens from interrupting classes, and it reduces the amount of people outside while the test is being done, he said.
Emergency system tests are done three times each year at the beginning of each semester. Piatt said the hope is to acclimate students to the sound of the sirens and familiarize people to UNM’s emergency procedures.
“Every semester we have a new population of students,” he said. “So even though it’s a spring semester, there are still students who just started…We want to make sure everybody is aware of what the procedures are.”
An email will also be sent out to remind the Lobo community about procedures. It will also remind them that if a siren were used in an emergency, people should seek shelter inside and look for additional information.
Before the test, a message will aim to remind receivers that it is test, which will in turn make sure the alert system is hitting “every device across all campuses,” Piatt said.
Madison Spratto is a news editor at the Daily Lobo. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @Madi_Spratto.