Emergency Notification System (ENS)
As part of NSU's continuing effort to ensure a safe college environment, the university utilizes the NSU Emergency Notification System (ENS) or NSU Alert.
ENS is a comprehensive communications solution that allows the University to quickly disseminate an urgent message through multiple communication mediums including:
- Indoor and outdoor public address systems
- Text messages to cell phones, PDAs and other text-based devices
- Voice messages
- Email messages
- Digital signage
- NSU Emergency Hotline: (800) 256-5065
- University website messages at www.nova.edu/emergency
- SharkTube displays
Emergency Notification System messages are sent to every single member of the University community who has his/ her personal contact information registered on WebSTAR. Those individuals who do not have his/her personal contact information registered on WebSTAR will not receive ENS voice or text messages on his/ her cell phone, and may not receive ENS emails or ENS home phone messages if contact information is out of date.
If you have not registered/updated your personal contact information, please take the time to do so right now! Click here for step-by-step guide to registering.
In an actual emergency, here are a few sample messages you may receive via text message, voice message, email or loudspeaker:
- Date/Time. NSU Alert! DANGEROUS SITUATION reported on campus. Take shelter. Stay in place until further information is provided. Wait for the all clear.
- Date/Time. NSU Alert! A CHEMICAL LEAK has occurred on campus in the blank building. Seek shelter in the nearest building. Wait for the all clear.
- Date/Time. NSU Alert! blank building is being EXACUATED. Exit the building and proceed to nearest evacuation assembly point. Wait for the all clear.
- Date/Time. NSU Alert! Attention ALL CLEAR; repeat all is clear, you may resume normal activities.
Do what the message tells you to do!
If the message tells you to "Take shelter" do just that. Your goal should be to find a room that you can lock yourself in. Avoid leaving the building you are in, unless the threat is inside with you. If you are outside, run to the nearest building. Obviously, if there is a clear and present threat in the immediate area, like an active shooter, you are going to have to make the best decisions for your own safety.
If the message tells you to "Exit the building and proceed to nearest evacuation assembly point," do just that. Your goal is to get out of the building in a calm and organized manner while looking around your work area for anything suspicious or out of the ordinary. Follow others leaving the building to an assembly area. If you notice something suspicious, report it to police as soon as they arrive.
Only students, faculty and staff with active WebSTAR accounts are in the notification system at this time. The university spent a significant amount of time researching, discussing and deciding on whether to include parents in the system when it was created. The decision was made not to allow parents to register because doing so would significantly increase the number of contact paths in the system. This would slow the overall speed at which the system sends messages (as the sending algorithm is a matrix, not a linear priority sequence), potentially affecting the speed at which community members who are actually on campus get the notification. Based on the University's research, it is just about an even split between Universities of a similar size who do and do not allow parents to register on the system. Nova Southeastern University is constantly reviewing and updating Emergency Notification policies when deemed in the best interest of community safety.
The intent of the system is to get every person at least one form of communication (text, email, call, public address system, web, person-to-person) in a timely manner. Given the realities of life and the limits of current technology, it is simply not possible to assure every person will receive every form of message. There are several uncontrollable points within the electronic communications systems where errors can occur, most of which are points controlled by outside vendors such as cell phone carriers, email providers and computer systems. If an individual just hears the outdoor warning siren, or just gets an email, or just gets a text message, or just hears the information from a friend, then the system was successful. The university is continually looking for ways to expand the number of components to the already redundant system.
The ENS system has a multitude of contact paths (email addresses, cell phone numbers, home phone numbers, office phone numbers) entered. The current limits of technology affect how fast these messages can be delivered through the communications infrastructure. Cell phone towers, phone lines, email systems and other messaging systems can only process and carry so many messages at a given time. As a result, it does take time for all messages to be sent. In recognition of this issue, alternative communication forms have been developed and promoted including Indoor and Outdoor Public Address systems, use of the university's website, digital signs and person-to-person communications. If an individual just hears the outdoor public address system, or just sees the website, or just hears the information from another person, then that individual did receive the message. The university is continually looking for ways to expand the number of components to the already redundant system.