Harding University launches new emergency notification system

SEARCY, Ark. – Harding University has launched a new emergency
notification system and conducted a full-scale test on October 2. The
system, powered by Everbridge, a recognized leader in incident
notification systems, reached all but 26 of the 5,611 individuals
within the campus community.

Since August the campus public safety office has been urging students
and employees to sign up to receive emergency notifications and update
their contact information. With the fall semester in full swing,
officials were ready to test the system to ensure its effectiveness
and to see if it would have an impact on local cell phone service.
There were no service interruptions reported.

“Harding University’s large-scale test of our new emergency
notification system was a resounding success,” said Craig Russell,
director of public safety at the University. “Our ability to
communicate quickly and effectively during a crisis with our students
and employees helps us make a safe campus even safer.”

The Everbridge system, which replaces a campus-generated notification
system, allows University officials to contact students, faculty and
staff in the wake of catastrophic events, evacuations or hazardous
weather. A pre-recorded emergency message can be distributed with the
click of a button, reaching individuals through a phone call, text
message or e-mail.

Last Thursday’s test was designed to attempt to contact the
University’s 5,611 people using six different paths up to two times
each. Paths included cell, home and office phones, e-mail addresses
and text messaging. The test was sent at 1:09 p.m., and all attempts
had been made by 1:35 p.m. with more than 24,000 total attempts. Some
individuals received the notification within seconds, and others
received it within just a few minutes.

Once the message is distributed, recipients have the option to send
confirmation that they have received the message. The system attempts
to contact each person repeatedly until it receives a response,
helping the University account for every individual on campus.
Officials can target specific groups or distribute the message to the
entire Harding community, including the campuses in Memphis, North
Little Rock and Bentonville.

Organizations in more than 100 countries use the Everbridge notification