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Frequently asked questions

General information

How do I sign up to get messages from MIT about emergencies on campus?

Sign up for MIT Alert.

What is MIT Alert?

MIT Alert is the Institute's comprehensive emergency notification program. In the event of an emergency that may cause a threat to the life safety and health of the MIT community, MIT Alert will quickly notify and advise students, faculty, and staff via a number of communication channels including text message, voice message, email, and social media (Twitter and Facebook). During emergencies, information is also provided on the MIT emergency website.

Who should sign up for MIT Alert?

All MIT students, faculty, and staff should sign up here (you will need an MIT certificate). Parents, spouses, partners, family members, and members of our extended community are welcome to sign up by clicking on the Extended Community link.

How do I sign up for text messaging?

MIT students, faculty, and staff can visit MIT Alert and click on the "MIT Community" button. Extended community members can sign up for MIT Alert by clicking on the "Extended Community” button.

The information provided will ONLY be used in emergencies that cause a threat to the life safety and health of the MIT community. The MIT Alert system will not be accessed or used for purposes other than emergency communications, and your personal information will not be shared.

How can I be sure that I can receive text messages on my cell phone or mobile device?

If you are not sure whether your cell phone or mobile device can successfully receive text messages, you should check with your service provider.

Privacy of information

Why am I being asked to provide my cell phone or mobile device number?

In the event of an emergency that causes a threat to the life safety and health of the MIT community, MIT will use multiple means of communication (text messages, voicemail, and email) to contact students, faculty, staff, and extended community members. Providing a cell phone or mobile device number and non-MIT email address, if you have one, will improve MIT's ability to contact you in an emergency.

What is the non-MIT email address used for?

During certain types of emergencies, some of the standard MIT Alert emergency communication channels may not be operating at full capacity. A non-MIT email address improves MIT's ability to contact you in an emergency.

Can I provide a non-MIT email address without a phone number?

Yes, you may enter as much or as little information as you wish; however, providing multiple methods of contact improves MIT's ability to contact you in an emergency.

If I don't provide a cell phone or mobile device number, will I still be contacted?

If we don't have your cell phone or mobile device number, we will attempt to contact you through other means, such as your MIT email address and Institute phone. However, we strongly recommend that you provide multiple methods of contact, such as a cell phone or mobile device number, to improve MIT's ability to contact you quickly in an emergency.

Will I receive unsolicited text messages on my cell phone or mobile device?

No. The cell phone or mobile device number you provide will be used solely for emergency notifications. Your contact information will not be published or shared.

Where is the personal information stored and how will it be used?

Personal information is stored securely in WebSIS (for students) or Employee Self-Service (for faculty and staff). Any information provided for MIT Alert emergency notifications will be used by MIT only in the event of an emergency that causes a threat to the life safety and health of the MIT community and requires you to take action to stay safe.

What is the difference between "Emergency Contact" and "Emergency Notification" information?

Emergency notification information (MIT Alert) is used to contact the community in the event of an emergency that causes a threat to the life safety and health of the MIT community and requires you to take action to stay safe. Emergency contact information is a family member or other person you designate who would be contacted if you were involved in an accident or otherwise injured while at MIT.

Emergency notifications

How will I be notified in an emergency?

In the event of an emergency that causes a threat to the life safety and health of the MIT community and requires you to take action to stay safe, you will be notified by Institute phone and email. If you subscribe to MIT Alert, you may also be notified by voicemail, email, text message, and social media outlets, depending on the nature of the emergency.

How quickly can I expect to receive an emergency message after an incident occurs on campus?

Our process enables us to disseminate emergency notification messages within minutes of learning about and confirming an emergency that is causing a threat to the life safety and health of the MIT community. Initial messages will be brief and only contain essential information (type of emergency, location of emergency, and actions to take to stay safe). We will follow up on these initial messages with up-to-date information and advisories at the MIT emergency website and when we have actionable information to send to the community. However, given the nature and scope of the emergency and the operational status of the Institute or the surrounding community, there may be unexpected delays in the delivery of any message that relies on outside service providers (e.g., cellular carriers) or electrical power. We encourage you to prepare yourself in advance for a campus emergency and solidify communications within your DLC and/or residence as well.   

What should I do if I get an alert?

Please follow any instructions provided in the MIT Alert as well as those provided by MIT emergency personnel (MIT Police, Cambridge Police/Fire, floor leaders, building coordinators, etc.) Further details will be posted on MIT's emergency website.

Who is responsible for sending alerts?

MIT Police and MIT EMBC are responsible for and authorized to send MIT Alerts to the MIT community. All individuals within these offices who are authorized to send alerts are highly trained and regularly tested on the MIT Alert system. 

Will I be contacted by MIT Alert in the case of snow closings or cancellations?

No. Snow-related closings are not classified as life safety emergencies. They are announced on the MIT home page and on MIT's SNOW line, 617-253-SNOW (7669). The emergency information website, emergency.mit.net, may contain information about snow closings as well.

Technical information

A colleague or classmate received a text message from MIT Alert, but I did not. Why?

Please check the MIT Alert website to ensure that your information is complete and up-to-date. Also, check with your cell phone or mobile device provider to ensure that your phone is capable of receiving text messages. It is possible that you may have been contacted in a different way, such as phone or email.

Can I receive an emergency notification through my pager?

No.

Will I be charged for text messages sent by MIT?

Regular text messaging fees apply. If you do not have a text messaging plan from your service provider, you may see a charge.

How do I unsubscribe from MIT Alert?

If you wish to stop receiving MIT Alert notifications, access the system through the appropriate Sign Up link (either MIT Community or Extended Community) and select the option that says “Remove me completely from MIT Alert.” (Note that the Extended Community process involves an extra step: You will provide an email address, and a link will be sent to you at that address.)

  • Make sure you use the “Save/Update” button to confirm your change. You will be unsubscribed within a few minutes and will no longer receive emails or texts from MIT Alert
  • If this process doesn't work, send an email to mitalert@mit.edu requesting to be unsubscribed from MIT Alerts.

Additional information

Can parents and spouses sign up to receive MIT Alerts?

Yes. Parents, spouses, and partners are encouraged to sign up through the "Extended Community Sign Up" button on the MIT Alert home page.

During campus emergencies, updates are also posted to the MIT emergency website and on social media on Facebook (MIT Alert and MIT Police) and twitter (@MITAlert and @MITPolice). During emergencies, we urge members of the MIT community to be in touch with their families directly to communicate their status.

Can MIT visitors and guests register to receive alerts?

Yes. Visitors and guests are encouraged to sign up by visiting MIT Alert and clicking on the "Extended Community" sign up button.

Where else can I get information during campus emergencies?

In the event of an emergency, updates will also be posted to:

What should I do if I have additional questions or need technical support?

If you have questions or experience any problems, please email mitalert@mit.edu.

Where do I get information about personal preparedness for emergenciesy events?

Click here.

 

Additional Resources

Contact Info

Office of Emergency Management
& Business Continuity

Building W92-129
617-452-4368
em-staff@mit.edu

MIT Emergency Information

617-253-7669

MIT Police

617-253-1212

MIT Medical

617-253-1311

MIT Department of Facilities | Office of Emergency Management & Business Continuity

77 Massachusetts Avenue, Building W92, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02139

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