UW Madison Campus Upgrades Emergency Alert Procedures


With the school year less than a month away, the UW-Madison police department hopes to roll out an upgrade to its WISC alert system soon.

The emergency alert system can notify students and staff by email, text message, and phone. Right now, the system has about 89,000 emails and 20,000 cell phones on file, said Capt. Mike Netwon.

Next month, Netwon says the department plans to introduce a new feature that will better integrate alerts on the school’s website. The feature will create a pop-up message on the homepage with the alert and more information.

The WISC system was introduced in 2008, shortly after the shootings at Virginia Tech.

Since then, campus police and local authorities have staged numerous drills and exercises, including a hyper-realistic drill in May 2010. More than 400 people were involved in that exercise, which included a real car fire, swat teams, and actors with fake injuries.

“We look at an all-hazards approach to emergency planning. We don’t just focus on the active shooter or the tornado. We’re looking at all the potential hazards that could happen and training for those,” Newton said.

The WISC alert system is just for students, faculty, and staff, but people interested in learning about emergency situations on campus can follow UW-Madison police on Twitter, @UWMadisonPolice.


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