students on campus

CatAlert Emergency Notification & Response Procedures

CatAlert is UVM's rapid emergency notification system. CatAlert's goal is to help keep UVM's community informed and updated during emergency situations.  UVMOEM maintains the system which can be activated by UVM Dispatch or by UVM's Emergency Operations Group from both on and off campus.  

Below are instructions for adding and maintaining your emergency contact information in order to receive the CatAlert emergency messages by phone, email, and text messaging. This contact information will only be used in emergency situations in which timely notification is critical.

How to update your information

Instructions for Students

  • On the web, navigate to myUVM and login.
  • Choose the Registrar tab.
  • Choose My Contact Info (CatAlert) from My Emergency Contacts in the lower left corner of the Registrar tab.
  • Choose Go to Insert a New Number and/or Update as desired.

Instructions for Employees

  • Log on to UVM's PeopleSoft Human Resource System from the PeopleSoft portal page.
  • Navigate to "Self Service."
  • Navigate to "Personal Information."
  • Navigate to "Phone Numbers."
  • Use the "Add a Phone Number" button to insert as many emergency broadcast numbers as you like.
    • Select Emergency-msg-text to receive text messages on your mobile device (used for urgent communications in addition to emergencies)
    • Select Emergency-msg-voice to receive robocalls (used primarily for serious or life-threatening emergencies)

You can use text, voice, and TTY options but must select them and add the number.

Emergency Response & Notification Procedures

Notifications of emergency conditions, including a description of any required actions (such as evacuate to a safe location or shelter in place away from windows), will be sent without delay to campus audiences that might be impacted, once UVM Police personnel or other officials have validated the situation, unless such notifications would compromise efforts to assist victims or to contain, respond to, or otherwise mitigate an emergency or situation.

In order to facilitate thisconfirmation and notification process, all emergencies should be reported to UVM Police Services by dialing 911 from a campus phone. Calls placed from cell phones or off-campus telephones related to an emergency on-campus will be routed through the E911 Dispatch Center in Williston to UVM Police Services. Please also see these helpful hints on personal emergency preparedness.

Confirmation that there is a significant emergency or dangerous situation, which may include visual verification by UVM Police Services of the nature and scope of an emergency, determination of the content of the notification, including any required actions (such as evacuate to a safe location or shelter in place away from windows), whom to notify, and the actual launch of the notification will normally be the responsibility of the Senior Police Services official on duty, with assistance from the Emergency Operations Group (EOG) Manager. The EOG is also fully versed in operation of the CatAlert system and may take the lead on initiating campus notification as circumstances require.

The CatAlert system is capable of sending e-mail, text, and/or voice notifications. Faculty, staff, and students will automatically receive an e-mail notice of a campus emergency to their uvm.edu address, a text message on their cell phone or pager if that number is on file with the University, and/or a voice message (if opted into this feature) for up to three phone numbers. To opt-in for expanded notification, or to opt-out of the texting or voice notifications, students may do so through Banner, and faculty/staff through the self-service section of PeopleSoft.

Additional means of communications of emergency conditions on the campus include the UVM Emergency Management website and calling UVM’s Emergency Information Line (802) 656-0000 and the activation of the building fire alarm signaling the need for an evacuation of the facility. A fire alarm can be activated by anyone using the facility by pulling the nearest alarm box. During a winter weather emergency, any closing or delayed opening information will be displayed on the banner on local TV stations during morning newscasts.

Should the nature of the emergency require notification outside the campus community, the responsibility for doing so rests with the Director of University Communications or the person assigned the Public Information Officer (PIO) role within UVM’s Emergency Operations Group.   Based upon the nature of the event, the PIO may use differing means and methods.

Every September the Associate Vice President for Administrative and Facilities Services (for faculty and staff) and the Vice Provost for Student Affairs (for students) will send an e-mail describing the purpose of the CatAlert System, how it works, and providing notice that a test of the system will occur twice a year.

Twice a year, the Associate Vice President for Administrative and Facilities Services, or the Vice Provost for Student Affairs will initiate (or authorize the initiation of) a test emergency response alert message (usually in September and January). The procedures contained within this statement will be publicized to faculty, staff, and students each September when affiliates are given advance notice of the upcoming test and encouraged to opt-in for expanded notification. A record of all such tests, including a description of the test, the date, time, and whether the test was announced or unannounced is accessible from  UVM's Emergency Management website.

Tests will also be conducted at least annually on UVM’s ability to respond to an emergency, including activation of its Emergency Operations Group (which meets monthly) and a table-top exercise involving a campus-based scenario. Participants will include the Emergency Operations Group, their designated back-ups, select Emergency Support Function representatives, and at least one member of the Policy Group.  Additional tests will involve evacuation drills (see Campus Emergency Evacuation Procedures) overseen by the Campus Fire Marshal.

During an emergency on the campus, the University follows the Incident Command System (ICS) model which includes an on-scene Incident Commander (often from UVM Police Services), and an Emergency Operations Center (staffed by campus operational leaders) that can be activated to support Incident Command during a major emergency. A separate Policy Group of senior leaders is available as needed.

CatAlert System Test

Twice a year, usually in September and January, the Associate Vice President for Administrative and Facilities Services or the Vice Provost for Student Affairs will initiate (or authorize the initiation of) an announced test alert message for the CatAlert Emergency Notification System. The goal of these tests is to validate that the system is working as designed (including that at least 95% of all messages have been sent). The following details a record of such tests, including the date, time, a description and whether the test was announced or not.

Date Time Description and Type # Recipients
02/29/08 10:00 am First Announced Test of CatAlert System 20,326
09/25/08 12:22 pm Announced Test 21,693
02/11/09 4:00 pm Announced Test 19,560
09/25/09 4:00 pm Announced Test  
02/11/10 4:00 pm Announced Test 20,410
09/23/10 4:00 pm Announced Test 21,053
03/07/11 7:56 am Test replaced by Winter Weather Closing Alert 20,480
08/27/11 6:05 pm Test replaced by Severe Storm Closing 20,406
04/05/12 3:49 pm Announced Test 19,719
09/27/12 4:00 pm Announced Test 20,426
01/24/13 3:55 pm Announced Test 19,674
09/26/13 3:50 pm Announced Test 19,978
01/30/14 4:00 pm Announced Test 19,398
09/23/14 3:50 pm Announced Test 19,977
01/29/15 3:55 pm Announced Test 19,565
09/24/15 4:10 pm Announced Test 20,195
01/28/16 4:05 pm Announced Test 19,761
9/29/16 4:00 pm Announced Test 20,744
2/09/17 4:10 pm Announced Test 20,162

 

What is CATAlert?

In the interest of campus health and safety and in keeping with federal law, the University of Vermont maintains a robust emergency alerting system called CatAlert to notify the campus community (or segments of the campus community) upon confirmation by UVM Police Services that a significant emergency or dangerous situation involving an immediate threat to the health or safety of students or employees is occurring on the campus. Since such events may originate beyond the borders of the campus, UVM Police, Burlington and South Burlington Police collaborate and share information on a daily basis.

Wrong Number?

If you received an alert that you don't believe you should have, please contact us at emergency@uvm.edu and provide the phone number you received the alert on and the name that was associated with the alert you received.  The CatAlert system is updated through our employee and student directories and sometimes people change numbers and don't update them in the directory resulting in erroneous messages.