Some phones didn't receive emergency alert because of factory settings, says security

Written by: 
Helam Lau

Panic swept BYUH after students received a false alarm of a ballistic missile threat Saturday morning, Jan. 13, but some students said they didn’t receive the emergency alert on their cellphones.

Eseta Clanton, a BYUH alumni from Tonga working as a crime prevention specialist in the Department of Public Safety, addressed the issue. “The reason why students did not receive any of the campus alert is because they need to update their phone number with the school.”

Kathleen Hawes, a sophomore from Idaho majoring in psychology, said she did not receive a missile warning on her phone. "I found out through my roommate. When I woke up, I was so confused but not scared when she told me there was a missile warning. We just stayed in for 30 minutes. I assumed the reason why I did not receive it was because I did not change my location to Hawaii." Hawes explained how after hearing the importance of updating her information, she changed it immediately.

Clanton provided a quick tip on how students can receive alerts. “Students just have to login to my.byuh.edu, click on ‘MyTools’ to update personal information, and enter the desired phone number as your campus emergency alert phone.”

Signing up for the alert system is one of Security’s initiatives, said Clanton. “That is what we have been trying to educate students–automatically input or update their information as they register for school. It is what students should have already known and should do as soon as possible so that they can receive notification about any campus alert. It is not something that has to do with the Security Department.”

According to Clanton, the department has also sent out pamphlets, brochures, and flyers in order to help students be prepared for issues in the future. However, she added, “It is up to them to download the information. We consistently ask them and notify them to update the information and download the app. It is going to make our work easier too.”

She shared how the mobile apps RaveGuardian and EverBridge are also ways students can be notified about potential warnings and alerts. The apps can be used to request services from Security. “They can report any incident that is happening to them or allow us to monitor them wherever they go and feel unsafe,” advised Clanton.

But the apps won’t replace educating students, she said. “We are still continuing to help students, regardless of how many times we already notified them.”

Collin Farar, a junior from North Carolina majoring in political science, said he recently received the alert from the school. “I knew of the two main tools [EverBridge and RaveGuardian] because I work in the Student Advisory Council. … I think [Security] talked a little bit about it in the orientation, but students probably forget about it. It is students’ responsibility to update their information.”

Date Published: 
Wednesday, January 31, 2018
Last Edited: 
Wednesday, January 31, 2018