On March 20, Virginia Tech will conduct a full-scale test of the VT alerts system between 8 a.m. and noon.
The tests will affect the Blacksburg campus, as well as regional Tech centers throughout the commonwealth, including the National Capital Region locations in Northern Virginia.
“We hope this test reminds everybody to take a moment to think about your own personal safety,” said university spokesman Mark Owczarski.
Members of the Tech community should expect to be contacted via email, phone and text message, as well as through Tech’s website and the VT alerts twitter account, @vtalerts.
In Blacksburg, electronic message boards in classrooms and common areas will also be tested, along with computer desktop notifications and outdoor warning sirens. These sirens will be heard around campus and adjacent locations in the town of Blacksburg.
“The reason we have VT alerts is because no one singular channel at any given moment in time is going to be perfect. That’s why we have this redundancy,” Owczarski said.
Those receiving messages should follow instructions to confirm receipt, as directed, in order to verify the system functions properly during the test.
Text messaging takes the longest of any of the available communication channels, due to technological limitations, said Owczarski. Verifying receipt of text messages instructs the automated system to stop attempting to contact your number.
Those who do not receive messages during the scheduled drill should verify their contact information in order to ensure they have access to vital information in the event of an actual emergency.
“When we do these tests, it’s like a fire drill. You need to believe that you need to take action and take reasonability for your safety,” Owczarski said. “When you get (a VT alert), it’s because you need to get it.”
More information about VT alerts is available through Tech’s website, www.vt.edu.