Warn Me

Andrew SzeriI have a question for you: Have you updated your WarnMe contact options yet?

WarnMe is a simple, direct name for a service that exists to save lives.

Its logo is bright and eye-catching, and it’s easy to sign up for the list so you can get emergency notifications from UC Berkeley police on any of your preferred media.

WarnMe’s purpose is absolutely serious, but, like anything co-existing in the info glut, it has to compete for attention so  that A) you’ll be aware it’s there for you, and B) you’ll plug it into your own safety strategy.

This semester, the system — which launched at Berkeley in fall 2008 — has used lighthearted graphics as part of its campaign to get noticed by new students and to persuade returning students and others on campus to update their options to keep pace with their new phones and other devices.  You might have noticed the messages featuring, respectively, an earthy quadruped and a would-be invading Martian.  (Reproduced here for your convenience.)

Originally an “opt-in,” or optional, service, WarnMe converted to “opt-out” in March 2012 so that everyone with a CalNet account (except those wishing not to participate) can be notified in the event of a life-threatening emergency on campus.

If you have an automatic forward to another account, the WarnMe message will be sent there. In addition, any previous preferences for contact will be maintained.

Local advice from outer space: “There is no WarnMe for Martian invasions. But there are alerts for campus emergencies.” (Illustration: Jean Smith)

If you want to change or add ways to reach you in an emergency (such as receiving text messages on your phone), you can do so on the WarnMe website.

If you wish to opt-out of WarnMe, you can do so on the same site. (Please note that it can take up to 24 hours before a new account or changes to an existing account take effect.)

In all emergencies, natural disasters and other crises, information will also be posted on the campus home page, or on the backup off-site emergency website.

It will also be recorded on the off-site, toll-free emergency number (1-800-705-9998), campus radio station (KALX 90.7 FM), and posted to @UC Berkeley Twitter and the UC Berkeley Facebook page.

Be safe!

Andrew Szeri signature
Andrew J. Szeri
Dean of the Graduate Division