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Emergency notifications

A screen shot of a cell phone displaying a test alert from the PointAlert system notification system at Point Park University.Students, faculty and staff can sign up for this completely voluntary service to receive emergency notification messages from the Point Park Public Safety Department. There will be no advertising or non-emergency alerts sent. Participants may opt-in or opt-out at any time; however users must opt-in and be registered to receive alerts.

Registration only takes a minute! This will be the surest way to receive notifications critical to your safety and well being as well as other campus info you may want to receive. Simply complete the registration form, which will take you directly through the sign up process. Have your cell phone with you and on. The opt-in list of groups will increase over time, and will always be updated in your personal PointALERT account.

After you complete the validation part of registering your mobile phone, the next page will say: You have successfully signed up. You will see a log in button for your new account. To complete your registration, you must open your account and enter your E-mail address, then click the ADD EMAIL button. You will instantly be emailed a verification email you must open and click on the validation link. You're all done! You may register two email addresses and two devices. It's very easy to do.

Point Park Timely Warnings Procedures 

Emergency Response and Evacuation Procedures

It is the policy of Point Park University to provide timely warning to all students, faculty and staff of the University with regard to public safety and/or emergency issues affecting those on campus, and where applicable, to provide notice to evacuate.

The PointAlert emergency notification system is in place to provide all members of the campus community with appropriate notice of potential or actual threats to health or safety.  In the event of a threat, the PointAlert system immediately communicates a time sensitive message to the entire campus community by mass email via the campus email system.  The PointAlert system also has the ability to deliver such messages using one or more additional methods, as may be elected by members of the campus community.  Such additional methods of communication include: mobile phone, social media accounts, the University web page, text pager, or PDA with a wireless connection.  The PointAlert notification system is deployed by the Public Safety Dispatch Center, a 24 hour a day, year-round operation.

Additionally, where evacuation is called for, all buildings on campus utilize a fire alarm system which notifies those in the building that they must evacuate.  Students are trained in proper evacuation procedures, and signage is in place to direct all others out of buildings.

Procedures and Responsibility for Emergency Alerts

If a threat is reported on campus, Campus Police or Public Safety security staff is dispatched immediately to investigate and confirm the reported incident or threat.  Their report is communicated immediately to the Chief of University Police, who initiates contact with an Executive Team, consisting of: 1) the Assistant Vice President of Public Safety/Chief of University Police, 2) The Deputy Director of Public Safety, 3) the Dean of Students, 4) the Sr. Vice President of Academic and Student Affairs, 4) the Sr. Vice President of Finance and Operations, 5) the Vice President of Development and Alumni Affairs, 6) the Vice President of External Affairs, 7) the Director of University Health Services, 8) the Director of Facilities Management Services, and 9) the Sr. Director, Marketing and Communications.

This Executive Team normally determines if the PointAlert notification system will be initiated, as well as the message to be communicated.  However, where contact with the Executive Team might cause inappropriate delay, the Chief of University Police will determine if the PointAlert system will be initiated and the message to be communicated unless, in the professional judgment of these responsible authorities, the PointAlert notice might actually compromise efforts to assist or jeopardize efforts to mitigate an emergency.

Determining the Content of an Emergency Alert

The content of the Emergency Alert that is deployed by the Public Safety Dispatch Center is normally determined by the Executive Team, and may consist of one of many pre-written script messages, or a message tailored to the facts of the emergency.  Pre-written script messages have been developed for a: water main break, power outage, hazardous material spill, tornado watch, tornado warning, suspicious package found, bomb scare, fire on campus, gunman on campus, natural gas leak, campus evacuation, and severe weather.  However, where contact with the Executive Team might cause inappropriate delay, the Chief of University Police will determine the message content, or direct the Dispatch Center to deploy a scripted message.

Notification of Appropriate Segments of the Community

Because of the compact nature of the University campus, the PointAlert notifications will normally be communicated to all students, faculty and staff.  Additionally, Community Facilitators and Student Life representatives will disseminate notifications verbally to students and visitors in the residence halls, and along with University Public Safety representatives, will assist in any building evacuations.

Disseminating Emergency Information to the Larger Community

The Senior Director, Marketing and Communications, will work with the external news media to disseminate information to the larger community.  Messages to the external community will be consistent with the messages disseminated to the internal University community via the PointAlert system, as well as on the University’s website.  At the same time, the University Public Safety Department will communicate with the City of Pittsburgh Department of Public Safety.

Testing of Emergency Response and Evacuation Procedures

The University tests its emergency notification system and its evacuation procedures once during the fall semester and once during the spring semester.  If deployed, that will constitute an unannounced test of the system.  Otherwise, the tests are announced in advance to the University community via internal communication outlets, including a campus-wide email.  Following any test, results (including a description of the exercise, the date, time, and whether the test is announced or unannounced) are documented with the University Public Safety Department as well as the City of Pittsburgh Public Safety Department, and adjustments made where necessary.