Northern Illinois University is preparing to test a program that will send text message alerts to students, faculty and staff in the event of an emergency. These emergency texts will provide basic information concerning the incident at hand and will provide instructions as to how to safely proceed and are part of a growing trend seen on college campuses across the country. 

According to an article in NIU Today, the tests will be conducted by the university's Department of Police and Public Safety and will commence at 1:55 p.m. on Thursday, December 6. Emergency texts will go out to all individuals that have registered their mobile numbers with the department and recipients are encouraged to provide feedback pertaining to the timeliness and effectiveness of the message's content.

Darren Mitchell, acting chief of police and director of NIU's Office of Emergency Management and Planning, spoke with the news source about the importance of a successful test.

"This is an important test in order to make sure the new emergency notification system is working properly," Mitchell said. "We encourage people to verify their contact information in MyNIU before the test takes place and also to report if they have a mobile phone number listed but did not receive a text alert during the test."

If testing is successful and the service is rolled out to the masses, it should go a long way in preserving the safety of all those who teach, learn and work on campus. An emergency text service can help alleviate any safety risks surrounding campus life and can allow officials in the police, fire and emergency medical departments to use their resources – in this case, text message recipients – to help resolve any potentially dangerous incidents.

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