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University of Iowa News Release


Oct. 3, 2007

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UI to test new Hawk Alert emergency notification system Friday, Oct. 5

The University of Iowa will test its new email and phone emergency notification system, known as Hawk Alert, beginning at 9 a.m. Friday, Oct. 5.

The Hawk Alert system delivers voice and text messages to the phones and e-mail accounts of UI students and employees. It's one method used by the university to notify the campus community of threats to physical safety in emergency situations such as a tornadoes, violence and hazardous material incidents.

"The Hawk Alert system gives the university the ability to contact many of our students, faculty and staff in the event of an emergency, using a variety of electronic and recorded messages," says Steve Parrott, UI spokesperson. "It's one of the means available to us for notifying the campus community as quickly as possible during a threatening situation."

In an emergency, the Hawk Alert system would be used in conjunction with an outdoor warning system that uses speakers mounted on towers to broadcast sirens and voice messages.

During Friday's Hawk Alert test, a test message will be sent to students, faculty and staff via campus e-mail accounts and landline and cell phone numbers. In preparation for the test, the university is sending a mass e-mail today, Wednesday, Oct. 3 to all students, faculty, and staff to notify them of the test. Wednesday's e-mail encourages members of the campus community to report the time they receive the test message and provides instructions for reporting any problems that occur during the test.

"As good as we believe Hawk Alert is, we know we won't reach everyone in every situation," Parrott says. "This is one more option available to us to notify members of our community, especially those who are routinely away from a desk phone or e-mail during the day. Obviously, having a system like this in place doesn't relieve individuals of their responsibility to be vigilant and use their best judgment. Between Hawk Alert, the new siren system, Web site postings, the media, and reliance on word of mouth, we believe we've made significant improvements in our emergency notification plans."

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500

MEDIA CONTACTS: Mark S. Katsouros, UI Information Technology Services, 319-335-1893,; Charles S. Drum, University News Services, 319-384-0048,