Frequently Asked Questions

Why is Rensselaer providing this service?

Timely communications are an essential part of a successful response to an active emergency. We require more than a single mode of notification to provide this critical communications capability. Current methods include:

  • DPS Website and Public Safety Alerts
  • Rensselaer emails
  • Campus Cable Television
  • Audible Alert Public Address System (Fall 2008)

RPIALERT will add to the array of communication methods Rensselaer already uses during campus emergencies. RPIALERT is capable of seamlessly disseminating SMS, text and email messages to thousands of recipients in matter of seconds.

When will RPIALERT be used?

The new notification system will be used when it is believed that a life threatening event is about to happen, is currently happening, or has a high potential to happen in the near future. Examples of when the system may be activated include when an active shooter and/or hostage situation has been reported, a tornado or other serious imminent weather condition is approaching or is predicted to strike, or a major hazardous material/chemical spill has occurred on or near campus. Other emergencies that could trigger system use include a bomb threat, a major fire event, an explosion or a major utilities system failure.

What should I do when I get an alert?

The message should tell you what personal safety actions to take, if any, for the situation occurring at that time. Read carefully and follow the provided instructions. If possible, continue to monitor your cell phone and email service for additional RPIALERT updates and reference any of the following communications venues throughout campus for additional updated information:

  • Campus cable television
  • RPI email account for emailed updates from DPS
  • Audible Alert Public Address System (Fall 2008)

How do I know that the message is a legitimate RPIALERT message?

The alerts will indicate they are from the RPIALERT system. The message sender ID will appear as follows:

  • For a text message: RPIAlert
  • For an email:
  • For a telephone call: (866) 436-6210
  • For an Instant Message (IM): RPIAlert

Once you receive your first test meesage from the RPIALERT System via your cell phone, you are encouraged to save the incoming telephone number in your contact list as "RPIALERT". This will ensure that you will be able to quickly identify future incoming RPIALERT advisories and will prompt you to immediately review the message.

Will the Institute be testing the RPIALERT system?

DPS will test the system on a regular basis, at least once per semester. If the message is a test of the system, it will be delivered with the subject line: "TEST: RPIALERT System" Any message that does not include the word "TEST" is an urgent message and should be responded to appropriately.

Will we be receiving more information on RPIALERT?

The Rensselaer Comprehensive Emergency Management Plan (CEMP) Committee will be sponsoring an awareness program that will include information on what type of information that will be included in the RPIALERT messages and general guidance on recommended ways to respond to maximize personal safety. If you wish additional information, please contact DPS at (518) 276-6656.

RPIALERT Registration FAQ's

When should I register?

Students, Faculty and Staff can now register for RPIALERT through Rensselaer's Student Information System/Rensselaer Self Service Information System (SIS/RSS). In addition to the telephone number(s) you provide, all Rensselaer email addresses ( will be automatically entered into the system. To register or edit your information, log onto (SIS/RSS) and click the RPIALERT icon within the Personal Information Section.

What devices/numbers should I register?

You have the capability to register as many as four telephone numbers. We recommend you enter only primary numbers that most frequently reach you. For most campus constituents, this would be your cell phone number(s). You may also opt to enter a home telephone number.

Is there a charge for subscribing to RPIALERT?

Rensselaer will not charge a fee for using RPIALERT. However, by registering for this service, users are responsible for charges made by mobile service providers related to text messages and mobile phone calls - for both actual and test messages. We will test the RPIALERT system at least once per semester.

If my email address is already automatically loaded into the system, why should I register additional devices onto the system?

Registering additional phone devices increases your notification options. Text messaging is fast and efficient and lessens dependence on receiving emails during an emergency situation.

Will my contact information be shared with anyone?

The contact data you provide will be submitted to Connect-ED; a third party vendor that Rensselaer has employed for the purpose of making urgent notifications. Connect-ED provides notification services for dozens of other universities around the country and has in place a number of security protocols that will protect the confidentiality of your contact information. Rensselaer will not access this data base for any use other than to facilitate RPIALERT services.

What happens if I don't register any telephone numbers?

When an urgent notification is activated, you will still receive the alert via your Rensselaer email account. If you are not actively receiving email, you will not receive critical information in a timely manner.

What is the difference between my Personal Emergency Contact information and RPIALERT?

Your Personal Emergency Contact information is used by Institute officials for the purpose of notifying an individual’s designated contact(s) of medical emergencies, death, missing person(s), or other emergency situations. The RPIALERT contact information is the list of communication devices you register to receive the Institute’s mass notification of an urgent campus emergency.

What if my telephone numbers change?

After you have registered, at any time you can sign onto the Student Information System/Rensselaer Self Service Information System (SIS/RSS) and enter the RPIALERT Registraion icon located within the Personal Information Section.