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NIU to upgrade emergency notification system

October 25, 2012

Photo of hands using mobile phoneNorthern Illinois University is upgrading its emergency notification system (ENS) and moving to a new platform, the university announced Wednesday.

The new Everbridge system will be fully operational by the end of the fall semester and will allow for better implementation of NIU safety bulletins by allowing management of both alerts and advisories in one system. Until then, there will be no interruption in the university’s ability to send out text and email messages, as the current systems in place will remain active through the transition.

NIU students and employees will be automatically enrolled in the new system through MyNIU. However, current subscriber information will not be transferred to the new system. Students and employees are encouraged to provide, verify and update their contact information to ensure receipt of these timely warnings. To update information, login to MyNIU ( and click on “Update Your Phone Numbers” in the “Important: Update Contact Info” section.

Once fully operational, all NIU students and employees will receive safety bulletin notifications at their official email addresses in addition to SMS text messages sent to the mobile numbers they register. The new system will undergo comprehensive small- and large-scale testing during the coming weeks, and the campus community should expect to receive at least one text message and email from the system. The message will clearly indicate that it is only a test.
NIU Safety Bulletins are broken down into two classifications: alerts and advisories. Alerts are used to distribute urgent information regarding emergencies that dictate immediate action because they present an imminent threat to the lives and safety of the general campus population. Advisories are timely notifications of potential emergency (safety, criminal, health, hazardous weather) activity on or near campus where the threat is NOT immediate or life-threatening.

“This investment in a new emergency notification system is significant in that it allows the university to reach the campus community in multiple ways. Email, text messaging and social media will be able to be tied into one single system to notify the public in the event of an emergency or potential danger,” said Kathryn Buettner, vice president of University Relations. “And equally important, users can select the contacts they wish to receive these safety bulletins.”

NIU students have the ability to register up to two additional contacts through MyNIU to receive safety bulletin notifications via text message and email. These contacts can be parents, spouses, family members or others who wish to receive the notifications. Students are encouraged to visit for directions on providing this information through MyNIU.

“I’d like to commend NIU’s Information Technology Services Division for its diligence in making this initiative happen,” added Buettner. “ITS has recognized that safety is a university priority and has worked tirelessly to meet our aggressive goals to implement this solution this semester.”

Text messages and emails are just one of the ways the university distributes timely warnings to the campus community. Those outside of the immediate campus community are encouraged to follow @NIUSafety on Twitter, NIU Safety Bulletins on Facebook, and the NIU Safety Bulletins web page.

For more information, please see the Frequently Asked Questions page on the NIU website.