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Text Alert System

emergency response - Student texting 08 14 12 sdiMessiah College is committed to providing a safe learning, living and working environment for students and employees and recognizes the importance of communicating quickly and effectively during an emergency situation. While the College would utilize multiple communication outlets in an emergency situation, the widespread prevalence of cellular phones offer a means of communicating quickly and broadly to the campus population. Even if only one person in a classroom receives a text message alert, he/she can notify an entire classroom of the situation. The word of mouth potential with this type of alert system adds significant additional value.

We encourage students and employees to register for the alert system through an easy sign up in the College's portal, MC Square.

FAQs about Messiah’s text message alert system

Why is the College utilizing a text messaging system to communicate during emergencies?

Cellular phones are integral to college life and text messaging is popular, fast and far-reaching. Also, after a significant crisis, like September 11, 2001, text message capabilities are often the first technology to be restored. 

Who can sign up for the text alert system?

Currently enrolled students at any Messiah College campus (Grantham or Harrisburg) and current employees able to log into MCSquare are strongly encouraged to sign up for text message alerts.

How do I sign up for Messiah’s text message alert system?

First, you must have a cell phone and a plan that accepts text messages. If you are uncertain if your current plan allows text messaging, please call your service provider. Then, register your cell phone number through MC Square and OTAir.

Will this service cost me money?

The only potential cost would be a charge from your cellular phone carrier, depending on the standard messaging rate of your plan.

Which cellular service providers are compatible with the system?

All of the major cellular service providers are compatible with Messiah's text alert system. Pay-as-you-go phones are not compatible with the College's text message alert system at this time.

Will my cell phone number be shared or made public?

No. The College will not publish or give out your cell phone number. It will be in a secure file that is shared only with OTAir, the company partnering to provide Messiah College with this text alert service.

What if I change my carrier or phone number?

You will need to register again to provide updated information. Occasional reminders will be sent to the entire campus community to prompt people to provide new cell phone numbers, if appropriate.  

What if I don’t have a cell phone?

Even if only one student in a classroom receives a text message alert about an emergency situation, he/she can notify the entire class of the situation. Plus, text messages are just one way the College will communicate with campus during an emergency.

Do I have to sign-up for these alerts?

No, but the College advises you to participate to be among the informed in an emergency situation. 

How will this alert system be used?

Messiah College will use the text messaging alert system for two primary reasons: 1) As a resource for communicating about an emergency that impacts the campus and 2) To share information regarding weather-related delays and closings. The alert system will not be used for advertising or marketing purposes.

How often will I receive text alert messages from Messiah?

The College will only send a text message alert in case of a weather-related delay or closing or in an emergency situation, so it is very hard to predict how frequently either of those situations might occur. Based on our experience since the system was implemented in 2007, it is unlikely you will receive more than a few alerts each academic year.

How do I get assistance if I have a question or technical problem with the text messaging system?

For general questions about registering for the text message alert system, e-mail emergencyresponse@messiah.edu. For technical questions about text message alerts and phone compatibility, contact OTAir at 888-898-8247 or support@otair.com. You may also text HELP to 68247 at any time to get support.

Once I’ve registered my cell phone number, can I change my mind and opt out?

Yes. You can unsubscribe by texting STOP to 68247 or by logging into MC Square, selecting the Home tab, clicking on Need to Know and Text Alert System.

I signed up, but I don't seem to be receiving any text message alerts. What should I do?

You should receive a message immediately after registering your cell phone number. If you do not, check with your carrier to ensure that Messiah's number (68247) isn't being tagged as spam or blocked.

How else will the College communicate in an emergency?

Depending on the situation, various communication vehicles are used, including, but not limited to, email, social media, voicemail, website postings, radio and television broadcasts and personal contact. In an emergency, a variety of these outlets, as well as the text message alert system, will likely be used.

Can parents register for text message alerts from Messiah College?

At this point parents cannot register for Messiah’s text message alerts; however, the College is looking into adding that feature to its system.

How will parents be notified in an emergency situation?

Parents will be notified in a timely manner of an emergency situation on campus through e-mail, social media, the College's emergency blog and website updates.