Frequently Asked Questions

Q. What is SUNY NY-Alert?

A. SUNY NY-Alert is an alert system that the University at Albany is implementing in conjunction with the State Office of Emergency Management (SEMO) and SUNY System Administration. SUNY NY-Alert enables the University to send out critical emergency information about this campus which can be disseminated concurrently through email, phone and text messaging.

Q. How can I participate?

A. You can participate by logging on to MyUAlbany and clicking on "SUNY NY-ALERT Emergency Contact Info". This option will bring you to a screen where you enter your email address(es) and/or phone number(s).

Q. What is required of me to participate?

A. Just one email address is required to participate. If you are a student, your UA email address will automatically be a part of this system as long as you are a registered student.

Q. How does SUNY NY-Alert work?

A. Once you have submitted your email address(es) and/or phone number(s), your information will be submitted to the SUNY NY-Alert secure database. If there is a CRITICAL EMERGENCY on campus, University officials will notify SUNY NY-Alert with appropriate information. You will then be notified by email, by phone and/or text messaging within a very short period of time. This is because SUNY NY-Alert has the capability of sending thousands of emails and making thousands of phone calls within minutes.

Q. When can I expect to receive a message from UAlbany using SUNY NY-Alert?

A. SUNY NY-Alert is set up to address CRITICAL INCIDENTS on campus where there is IMMINENT DANGER to others in the campus community. SUNY NY-Alert will be used judiciously and only for an emergency that affects the entire campus. For example, if a student is a victim of a date rape, while this is an onerous situation, the entire community would not be alerted using this system, as there is no imminent danger to the community. If however, a rape occurred on campus by an unknown assailant, the threat of danger to the community would prompt a SUNY NY-Alert to be issued.

Q. If we have a snow storm, and classes are cancelled, will I get a message from SUNY NY-Alert?

A. Typically you WILL receive a SUNY NY-Alert in the case of cancelled classes due to snow. The University only closes when weather conditions are dangerous and it is especially important to get cancellation notifications out to those who must drive to campus.

Q. If a message is sent using SUNY NY-Alert, what can I expect to get?

A. If you opt to submit your contact information, such as email address, phone number and text message number, then you can expect to get information by all of these means in the event that an alert is issued. For example, if you enter two email addresses, you will get the message in both mailboxes. If you enter phone and text message information, you will get called and/or texted at these numbers. Remember: texting is limited in characters, so you should NOT rely on this method of communication for complete information.

Q. Will SUNY NY-Alert become the only means of communicating with the UAlbany campus community in the event of an emergency?

A. The SUNY NY-Alert system is just one more tool that can assist us with getting the word out quickly regarding critical incident information. This alert system will complement methods we already use, including broadcast emails, alerts on the UAlbany homepage, person-to-person contact, bulletin board postings and local media outreach.

Q. How do I know I am getting an email from SUNY NY-Alert?

A. Email messages from SUNY NY-Alert will have in the "From" field.

Q. How reliable is text messaging in the case of an emergency?

A. SUNY NY-Alert has the ability to text message you as part of this alert system. When signing up for this service, you may enter your phone number in the text message field. You should be aware, however, that texting is the least reliable means of getting this emergency information. Texting is limited to a certain number of characters. Therefore the information you receive by text will be short and not necessarily give you complete information. You should always check your email once you receive a text message from the alert system. Additionally, phone calls sent by cell providers will take precedence over text messages.

Q. What can I expect in a text message from SUNY NY-Alert?

A. You can expect abbreviated information concerning the emergency that is limited to the number of characters your phone accepts in one text. If you receive a text message regarding an emergency situation on campus, you should check your email as soon as possible.

Q. Can I use my "red phone" number from my residence hall room as an emergency contact number?

A. No, you cannot enter your "red phone" as a contact number for SUNY NY-Alert, as these phones are for on campus use only and cannot accept calls from outside the campus.

Q. What does it cost to participate in SUNY NY-Alert?

A. Standard charges from your cell phone provider will apply for voice and text notifications at this time.

Q. Will SUNY NY-Alert leave a voice mail message if the phone is answered by an answering machine?

A. This system is NOT able to detect an answering machine or answering service. The voice notification message will start 3 seconds after a line is picked up, regardless if it is a person, answering machine, or answering service. Because of this, some participants might only hear part of the message.

Q. How many phone attempts will SUNY NY-Alert make when calling?

A. If there is no answer or a busy signal, SUNY NY-Alert will continue to try to contact each phone number for a maximum of 3 times.

Q. Where is the personal contact information that I enter into MyUAlbany stored and how will it be used?

A. The personal contact information is stored at the University at Albany and is sent on a weekly basis to SUNY NY-Alert. You should be assured that SUNY NY-Alert is a secure database and the information contained in this database will not be provided or otherwise disclosed except as necessary to respond to an emergency. Remember however, that all alert systems are only as good as the information you provide. Please type your information carefully and double check it before saving.

Q. Once I enter my contact information in MyUAlbany, how long does it take to get the information to SUNY NY-Alert?

A. Data is sent to SUNY NY-Alert on a weekly basis every Monday. This means that if you enter the information on a Tuesday, that data will not be updated on SUNY NY-Alert till the following Monday. Remember, however, that if you are a registered student, your UA email address will always be included in this database unless you choose to completely opt out of this system.

Q. How does a person update their SUNY NY-Alert emergency contact information?

A. At the University at Albany, you can update your contact information by logging on to MyUAlbany and choosing SUNY NY-Alert Emergency Contact Info.

Q. What if my parents want to get these alerts too?

There are two ways for your parents to participate:

You can enter your parents' email and phone information from your MyUAlbany site as your secondary information. This way, whenever an alert goes out, they would receive it as well, either by email, phone, text or all three. If your parents are members of the Parents Council, they will automatically receive emails from the Parent Liaison Office updating them on campus emergency situations.

Q. Will I be prompted on line to sign up for SUNY NY-Alert?

A. As you sign in to MyUAlbany, you will be prompted to participate in this emergency alert system. You will need to make a choice: opt in to the emergency alert system, or opt out. If you are a REGISTERED STUDENT, you will notice that when you first sign on to this site, your UA email address will already appear in the first email field. This is because all registered students will automatically be part of SUNY NY-Alert with their email addresses only. It is up to each individual student, however, to enter additional emergency contact information.

If you are a faculty or staff member, your UA email address will be maintained in the SUNY NY-Alert database IF you have a "preferred" email address in PeopleSoft and you are currently employed. All employees are encouraged to sign on to MyUAlbany and update your email and/or phone information in order to receive SUNY NY-Alert information.

Q. What if I do not want to participate in SUNY NY-Alert?

A. If you choose not to participate, you can go to MyUAlbany and choose "SUNY NY-ALERT Emergency Contact Info". There will be an option to "opt out" of the alert system. You should be aware that the University strongly encourages your participation in this system. If you choose to "opt out" and then change your mind, you are able to opt back in by going to this same location and changing your choice to update your contact information.

Q. I've heard NY-Alert advertised on the radio and TV. Is there a difference between NY-Alert and SUNY NY-Alert?

NY-Alert ( is New York State's all hazards alert and notification web based portal. This website contains critical emergency-related information, public instructions, and life-safety public information for citizens in the state of New York. The information posted on this web site includes severe weather warnings, significant highway closures, other emergency conditions, state response actions, and protective actions that are recommended by State and local authorities.

The SUNY NY-Alert emergency system is a spin off of this system that provides critical emergency information for the participating SUNY colleges. If you sign up for SUNY NY-Alert as a member of the University at Albany community (registered student or current faculty/staff) you will only receive alerts that are sent from this University.

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