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PointALERT

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 email 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 Point Alert 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.

TIMELY WARNINGS

Issuance of a “Timely Warning” – Timely warning advisories are made to the campus community for Clery Act crimes that may represent an ongoing threat to the safety of students or employees. The University chief of police or his/her designee shall make the decision as to whether an incident poses an ongoing threat and if a “Timely Warning” advisory is required. Clery Act crimes for which a timely warning must be issued include:

  • arson;
  • aggravated assault;
  • criminal homicide;
  • domestic violence;
  • dating violence;
  • robbery;
  • burglary;
  • sexual assault;
  • hate crimes; and
  • stalking.

The University may also issue a timely warning for alcohol, drug or weapons arrests or referrals that may cause a continuing threat to the University.

In the event that an advisory is required, the University chief of police or his/her designee shall provide the senior vice president of finance and operations or his/her designee with the specifics of the case for the purpose of drafting the timely warning advisory if time allows. In all cases, timely warning advisories are sent by the Point Park Department of Public Safety dispatch staff via electronic mail directly to all staff, faculty and students on the Point Park University campus using their institution-provided email accounts as well as, if considered appropriate, via text message to individuals signed up for the PointALERT system. For crimes occurring off campus, the University may issue a timely warning if the crime occurred in a location used and frequented by the University population.

EMERGENCY NOTIFICATION

Issuance of an “Emergency Notification” – In the event that there is a confirmed significant emergency or dangerous situation constituting an immediate threat to the campus community (in the judgment of the University’s chief of the police or his/her designee) the Point Park Department of Public Safety will, without undue delay, and taking into account safety of the community, determine the content of the notification and initiate the immediate notification system. However, if in the professional judgment of responsible authorities, the notification may compromise efforts to assist victims or to contain, respond to, or otherwise mitigate the emergency, the notification may be delayed.

If time permits, the University chief of police or his/her designee shall provide the SVPFO or their designee with the specifics of the case for the purpose of drafting the content of the emergency notification. The Point Park Department of Public Safety also maintains pre-scripted short message scripts for a variety of hazards to assist in the timely issuance of an emergency notification. In all cases, emergency notifications will be sent by Point Park Department of Public Safety staff via the electronic emergency notification system, PointALERT (i.e., text messaging system) directly to all staff, faculty, and students on the Point Park University campus who have subscribed to the free system. A variety of other communications tools may be used, including: mobile phone, social media accounts, the University web page (www.pointpark.edu), or text pager with a wireless connection.  Press releases may also be issued to notify those outside the campus community who may be affected by the emergency of the emergency situation.

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, resident educators and Office of Student Life representatives will disseminate notifications verbally to students and visitors in the residence halls, and along with University Department of Public Safety representatives, will assist in any building evacuations.

Disseminating Emergency Information to the Larger Community

The managing director of marketing and public relations, Office of 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 Department of Public Safety will communicate with the City of Pittsburgh Department of Public Safety.

Testing of Emergency Response and Evacuation Procedures

Emergency evacuation plans are in place to secure residence halls, protect classrooms, and ensure that students and employees are directed to a safe location.  The University tests its emergency notification system and its evacuation procedures once during the fall semester and once during the spring semester.  If deployed, the evacuation 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.  The City of Pittsburgh Public Safety Department participates in tests of the evacuation plans.  Following any test, results (including a description of the exercise, the date, time, and whether the test was announced or unannounced) are documented with the Point Park Department of Public Safety as well as the City of Pittsburgh Public Safety Department, and analysis is conducted and adjustments made where necessary to all evacuation plans.