Frequently Asked Questions
Q: How do I sign up to get messages from MIT about emergencies on campus?
A: Sign up for MIT Alert.
Q: What is MIT Alert?
A: MIT Alert is the Institute's comprehensive emergency notification program. In the event of major life safety or public health emergencies on campus, MIT Alert will quickly notify and advise students, faculty and staff via a number of communication channels including text message, Institute phone and email. During emergencies, advisories and updates are also provided on the MIT emergency website, the telephone line, 617-253-SNOW (3-7669), and to community-wide email lists.
Q: Who should sign up for MIT Alert?
A: All MIT students, faculty and staff should sign up here (you will need an MIT Certificate). Since MIT Alert text messaging uses WebSIS for student information and Employee Self-Service (ESS) for faculty and staff information, only current students, faculty and staff can sign up to receive text message alerts. However, parents, spouses, partners, family members and members of our extended community are welcome to receive email alerts by clicking on the Extended Community button on the right.
Q: How do I sign up for text messaging?
A: MIT students, faculty and staff can visit MIT Alert and click on the "MIT Employee and Student Sign Up" button. Students will be directed to enter their cell phone or mobile device number and their non-MIT email address into WebSIS. Employees will be directed to enter their cell phone number and non-MIT email address into Employee Self-Service (ESS). The information provided will ONLY be used for life safety and public health emergencies. It cannot be accessed or used for purposes other than emergency communications
Extended community members can sign up for MIT Alert and click on the "Extended Community Sign Up" button.
Q: How can I be sure that I can receive text messages on my cell phone or mobile device?
A: If you are not sure whether your cell phone or mobile device can successfully receive text messages, you should check with your service provider.
Q: Why am I being asked to provide my cell phone or mobile device number?
A: In the event of life safety or public health emergencies on campus, MIT will use multiple means of communication (Institute phone, email and text message) 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.
Q: What is the non-MIT email address used for?
A: 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.
Q: Can I provide a non-MIT email address without a phone number?
A: 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.
Q: If I don't provide a cell phone or mobile device number, will I still be contacted?
A: 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.
Q: Will I receive unsolicited text messages on my cell phone or mobile device?
A: No. The cell phone or mobile device number you provide will be used solely for emergency notifications. All information will be kept private and unpublished.
Q: Where is the personal information stored and how will it be used?
A: Personal information is stored securely either in WebSIS (for students) or Employee Self-service (for faculty and staff). Any information provided for campus emergency notifications (MIT Alert) will be used by MIT only in the event of life safety or public health emergencies in order to reach you in the quickest way possible.
Q: What is the difference between "Personal Contact" and "Emergency Notification" information?
A: Emergency notification information (MIT Alert) is used to improve MIT's ability to contact the community in the event of life safety or public health emergencies on campus. Personal 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.
Q: How will I be notified in an emergency?
A: In the event of life safety or public health emergencies on campus, you may be notified by Institute phone, email or text message, depending on the nature of the emergency.
Q: How quickly can I expect to receive an emergency message after MIT Alert has been activated?
A: Our intent is to dispatch alerts via text message, Institute voicemail, and email within 15 minutes of a decision to declare an emergency. 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. In such cases, we will attempt to deliver emergency messages and advice via more manual channels – e.g., written handouts, posters, campus runners, bullhorns, local phone trees, etc. We encourage you to prepare yourself in advance for a campus emergency. For more information, visit MIT Preparedness.
Q: What should I do if I get an alert?
A: Please follow the instructions provided in the MIT Alert, as well as those given by MIT emergency personnel (floor leaders, building coordinators, MIT police, etc.). Further details will be posted on MIT's emergency website and on the emergency phone line, 617-253-SNOW (3-7669).
Q: Who is responsible for sending alerts?
A: Depending on the circumstances, one of the following persons will issue the alert: Director of Facilities Operations and Security, The Managing Director, EHS Programs, The Security and Emergency Management Office Manager, the Emergency and Business Continuity Planner or the authorized manager of an emergency.
Q: Will I be contacted by MIT Alert in case of bad weather or if classes are cancelled?
A: Not always. Weather-related closings are not necessarily classified as life safety emergencies. They are announced on the MIT home page and MIT's SNOW line, 617-253-SNOW (7669). However, if the bad weather is so severe that it would create a life safety emergency such as a tornado or hurricane, then MIT Alert would be deployed.
Q: A colleague or classmate received an SMS (text) message from MIT Alert, but I did not. Why?
A: 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. Also, depending on the nature of the emergency, some alerts are not sent to everyone on campus.
Q: Can I receive an emergency notification through my pager?
Q: Will I be charged for text messages sent by MIT?
A: Regular text messaging fees apply. If you do not have a text messaging plan from your service provider, you may see a charge.
Q: Can parents and spouses sign up to receive MIT Alerts?
A: Yes. Parents, spouses and partners are encouraged to sign up through the "Extended Community Sign Up" button/link on the MIT Alert home page.
During campus emergencies, updates are also posted to the MIT emergency website and telephone line, 617-253-SNOW (3-7669). A special toll-free phone number will be activated during emergencies as well. (During emergencies, we urge members of the MIT community to be in touch with their families directly to communicate their status.)
Q: Can MIT visitors and guests register to receive alerts?
A: Yes. Visitors and guests are encouraged to sign up by visiting MIT Alert and clicking on the "Extended Community Sign Up" button.
Q: Where else can I get information during campus emergencies?
A: In the event of an emergency, updates will also be posted to:
- MIT's home page
- MIT's emergency website
- MIT's emergency phone line 617-253-SNOW or 3-SNOW (3-7669)
- MIT's Cable TV network
- MIT's Radio (WMBR)
Q: Where do I go if I have additional questions or need technical support?
Q: Where do I get information about personal preparedness for emergency events?
A: Click here.