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Campus Mass Notification System Fails
February 4, 2019 - ✉ Email The Editor
The mass notification system at the University of California, Davis, failed to alert 72 percent of subscribers during an active shooter event near campus on Jan. 10, according to the UC Davis news.
Shortly after a Davis police officer was shot and killed while investigating a car accident, UC Davis police sent two messages alerting the university's community of the incident and instructing them to shelter in place during the manhunt. Only 20,000 people received the messages out of the 70,000 subscribed to the service.
The service provider, Rave Mobile Safety, patched the glitch, and the WarnMe-Aggie Alert system was able to notify all subscribers of the incident over an hour after the initial message went out. In the interim, the initially alerted individuals spread the message through social media and other channels.
The university tests the emergency alert system twice a year and had passed all tests. The Jan. 10 error occurred because of a glitch in the updating process of the contact database, which happens nightly. Rave Mobile Safety accepted responsibility for the error and has since added safeguards to prevent such an error in the future.
Naomi Millán is senior editor of Building Operating Management.