Virginia Tech will conduct a full-scale test of its VT Alerts system on Wednesday, Sept. 25, on the Blacksburg campus as well as university facilities located in six regions across Virginia.

The test will occur between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m.

The regional notification groups cover the following university locations:

  • Blacksburg (Virginia Tech main campus, Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine);
  • National Capital Region (Northern Virginia Center in Falls Church, Va.; Marion duPont Scott Equine Medical Center in Leesburg, Va.; Middleburg Agricultural Research and Extension Center; Alexandria Center; Occoquan Watershed Monitoring Laboratory in Manassas, Va.; Virginia Tech Research Center -- Arlington);
  • Richmond (Virginia Tech Richmond Center);
  • Hampton Roads (Virginia Tech Hampton Roads Center, Virginia Beach; Virginia Tech Hampton Roads Center, Newport News);
  • Roanoke (Roanoke Higher Education Center, Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine and Research Institute);
  • Abingdon (Southwest Virginia Higher Education Center); and
  • Danville (Institute for Advanced Learning and Research).

Virginia Tech students, staff, and faculty located at the six regional locations outside Blacksburg may receive VT Phone Alerts messages and university (vt.edu) email notifications specifically targeted to that region. Subscribers may select emergency notifications for up to three different regions.

In the event of an actual emergency, individuals must be aware of their surroundings and take immediate responsibility for their personal safety and security. Initial VT Alerts messages will provide basic information on what to do; further instructions and updates will be provided by subsequent VT Alerts messages or first responders. In-depth information, when available, will be posted to the university homepage.

The university will use multiple information delivery methods to reach students, faculty, and staff because, at any given time, one form of communication might be better than another.

VT Alerts will also be utilized for the Blacksburg campus in those instances when severe weather impacts class schedules and the opening or closing of the university.

The university will test the following VT Alerts channels on Sept. 25:

  • The Virginia Tech homepage;
  • Broadcast email to all vt.edu accounts;
  • @vtalerts Twitter account;
  • Electronic message boards in classrooms (Blacksburg only);
  • Outdoor sirens (Blacksburg only);
  • VT Phone Alerts;
  • VT Desktop Alerts (Blacksburg only).

Virginia Tech maintains outdoor sirens that can be heard across campus as well as parts of the Town of Blacksburg adjacent to campus. The sirens are located on McBryde Hall, on War Memorial Hall, near the Visitors and Undergraduate Admissions Center, near the recreation fields off Southgate Drive, near Smithfield Road and Duckpond Road, near Plantation Road and Pratt Drive at the Corporate Research Center.

VT Alerts is also available to anyone through Twitter and is among the fastest ways to receive an emergency message if one engages in this social media platform.

VT Desktop Alerts, also available to anyone, sends a notice to a desktop or laptop computer if it is connected to the Internet. Users do not need to be on the campus to download the application or to receive the alert. However, to activate this service, the VT Desktop Alerts application must be downloaded to your computer.

VT Phone Alerts subscribers may receive text messages, phone calls to designated numbers, and/or email messages to non university email accounts. VT Phone Alerts users will be able to identify the text message in the following way:

  • The subject line for the test message will be “TEST: VT Alerts.”
  • The phone and voice mail messages will begin with “This is a test of the VT Alerts System.”

The message sender will appear as follows:

  • SMS (text) messages are from 89361 and start with “S: VT Alerts” (followed by the test message).
  • Phone messages are from (540) 232-1000 and begin with “The following is an emergency message from Virginia Tech.” followed by a text-to-speech rendering of the message).
  • Email messages are from VT Alerts (alerts-ins@cns.vt.edu).

At the end of the message, you will be prompted to confirm receipt. For the purposes of this test, it is important for you to provide the requested confirmation, as that will be the only way the university will know if you received the message. Those who receive alerts via email will be provided a link to confirm receipt. When you click on the link, you’ll be taken to a page hosted by Everbridge, the vendor who provides the VT Phone Alerts system.

Because VT Phone Alerts is intended to communicate urgent information to students, faculty, and staff on campus during an emergency, it is important that each subscriber carefully consider his points of contact. To review your account, visit the VT Alerts website and click on the “Manage Your Account” link.

If you registered anyone other than yourself to receive these alert notifications via phone, text message, or email, please inform that person of the upcoming test.

Individuals who do not have a Virginia Tech PID, but have a valid need to receive VT Phone Alerts emergency notification messages because of their relationship or proximity to the Blacksburg campus, may request a subscription through the Office of Emergency Management. Learn more about this process on the VT Alerts website.

If you do not receive a VT Phone Alerts message during the test, and you are subscribed to this service, please visit the VT Alerts website and click on the “Manage Your Account” link to verify that your record is correct. If the information is correct, but you did not receive the message, you’re urged to contact 4Help at 540-231-HELP (4357).

VT Alerts is a mass notification system. Recipients of VT Alerts messages are encouraged to share the information with those nearby.