Madison (WKOW) -- from UW-Madison: The University of Wisconsin-Madison conducted the first full-scale test of WiscAlerts-Text, its emergency text-messaging service, at 1:15 p.m. Wednesday.
A test message was sent to all 13,500 users in an effort to improve performance, test the speed of the system and discover any glitches in message delivery in advance of a future emergency situation.
The test was timed to avoid disrupting class sections but was not announced to the campus community.
The message read as follows: "WiscAlert: This is a test of the UW text alert system. If this message is received after 1:45PM, please respond to 69310 with the word delay. This is a test."
UW-Madison police Lt. Michael Newton, who manages the system, says he is particularly interested in hearing from enrolled users who received the test message more than 30 minutes after it was sent, which would suggest an unusual delay.
The university will use responses from users to track the source of any delays back through the system and local wireless providers. It is too early to know how many, if any, messages, were delayed, Newton says.
"We're viewing this test as a great opportunity," he adds. "We're hoping to learn as much as we can from the experience to be that much more prepared to react to a real situation."
Newton stressed that text messaging is just one of a number of ways that UW-Madison could communicate in a crisis, including e-mail, voice mail, reverse 911, Web postings and Facebook.
In addition to the campus community, the service is being offered to employees of UW-Madison-based campus affiliates, such as UW Hospital and Clinics, UW System administration, UW Foundation, the Wisconsin Alumni Association, UW-Extension and Colleges, the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation, UW Medical Foundation and campus consultants.
Employees of those affiliates must have a valid Net ID to participate.