Emergency Text Messaging
As part of the UMass Amherst Alerts system, emergency text messages provide time-sensitive notifications to subscribers’ cell phones.
A SPIRE or OIT Account is required to log in to SPIRE. If you do not have a SPIRE or OIT Account, go to the OIT Help Desk (A109 Lederle Graduate Research Center).
For more information about how to subscribe, go to Emergency Text Messaging on the OIT website.
Text Messaging FAQs
Why should I subscribe?
No one can predict when a campus emergency will occur, or where you will be when it happens. If you have a cell phone, UMass Amherst Alerts text messages will provide urgent, time-sensitive information directly to you, whatever your location. Subscribers will receive a message labeled 'UMass Amherst Alert' transmitted from '23177' (the address used by our service provider, Connect-ED.)
Who can subscribe?
To ensure the prompt delivery of messages to the people directly affected by an incident on campus, the service is limited to students, faculty and staff.
Will I receive UMass Amherst Alerts text messages immediately?
Our initial test in the spring of 2008 indicated that most subscribers received the UMass Amherst Alerts test message within 5 minutes. Please note that emergency text messaging at UMass Amherst is offered on a best-effort basis. This means that the University cannot guarantee that text messages will be sent during every emergency or that all subscribers will receive these messages.
How will the university use my cell phone number?
Subscribers' cell phones will remain confidential and will be used only for emergency notifications by UMass Amherst. The data will not be used for marketing purposes or other non-emergency communications.
Does the service cost anything to use?
Subscribing to emergency text messages is free. However, your cell phone carrier may charge you to receive text messages. Please check with your phone company for details.
What should I do when I receive a UMass Amherst Alerts text message?
UMass Amherst Alerts messages will provide instructions about what you should do. If you are a student and are in class, tell your instructor about the message. (Please adhere to your instructors' policies about cell phone use.)
Where can I get help with UMass Amherst Alerts text messages?
For technical questions, including how to subscribe to UMass Amherst Alerts text messages, contact the OIT Support Center at 413-545-9400 or www.oit.umass.edu/support.
For general information about emergency communications, contact Ed Blaguszewski, public information officer for the Emergency Operations Center, at 413-545-0444 or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
For information about the campus' emergency management program, please contact please contact Jeff Hescock, Director of University Emergency Management and Business Continuity, at 413-545-7431 or email: email@example.com or Andrew Vernon, Emergency Management and Business Continuity Coordinator, at 413-545-7299 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you have a documented ADA-defined disability and need help subscribing, please contact Disability Services at 413-545-0892.
I received a Crime Alert email message from the UMPD. How are Crime Alerts different from UMass Amherst Alerts?
The delivery methods of the two alert types differ, and are dependent upon the level of the threat and how quickly the campus must respond to it.
Crime Alerts are issued whenever a crime or series of crimes, on campus or in the surrounding communities, is considered to pose a continuing risk to students and employees. Crime Alerts are distributed via email to the 'all-campus' mailing list and are posted on the UMass Police Department (UMPD) Web site. Printed copies are also posted in each of the 45 residence halls.
UMass Amherst Alerts are issued to notify the campus community of imminent or ongoing threats to safety, security or health. They are disseminated with the goal of notifying as many people as possible, as rapidly as possible. UMass Amherst Alerts are distributed using SMS text messaging, broadcast emails, the UMass Web site, and the Emergency Closing Hotline (413-545-3630).
How can I learn more about the campus' emergency preparedness?
For information about the campus's emergency management program, please contact Jeff Hescock, Director of University Emergency Management and Business Continuity, at 413-545-7431 or email: email@example.com or Andrew Vernon, Emergency Management and Business Continuity Coordinator, at 413-545-7299 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
To learn more about how the campus will respond in the event of an active threat (e.g., a shooter on campus) please see the UMass Amherst Police Department website. The UMass Amherst Police Department (UMPD) is also available to give presentations on this topic to campus groups. For more information or to schedule a presentation, contact Deputy Chief Ian Cyr at 413-545-2440 or e-mail: email@example.com.