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Emergency Communications

Accurate information about impending or actual threats or emergencies can literally mean the difference between life and death.

Emergency Notification

The University uses several communication tools to alert the community to emergency situations:

  • UVA Alerts – notifies registered users via text message and email notification when the University population faces imminent threat from a hazard.
  • University email – notifies all current faculty, staff and students with an account of emergency situations. 
  • LCD and LED displays – displays UVA Alerts text messages on the OnAlert notice boards located in large classrooms and on LCD screens located across Grounds.
  • The University home page ( displays a popup box with the test message.  
  • The Emergency homepage ( displays a box with the test message.  
  • Siren – indicates that there is an imminent threat to the University community. If you are outside and hear the siren and audible announcement, follow the announced instructions. If the audible announcement cannot be understood, immediately check your cell phone and email for a UVA Alert message or go to UVA's Emergency Homepage for information on the emergency. For those without access to electronic communication devices, follow your department’s emergency protocols.
  • Internal public address system announcements – announces emergency information in buildings and locations where public address systems are available.
  • Twitter - alerts are automatically sent to the account of UVA Emergency Management: @UVASafety. 
  • Desktop Alerts - when installed on your computer, this program displays an alert notification as a pop-up window or a ticker banner.  
  • Fire alarm – indicates the need to evacuate the building immediately.


Whenever you receive an emergency notification, act quickly and decisively. Evacuate or seek shelter, as directed by the notice.


Emergency Notification System Tests

The University tests all communication tools once every semester as well as during the state’s annual Tornado Drill in March.  During these tests, the siren/public address system, text messaging, email, LED and LCD screens, UVA homepage and Emergency homepage, Alertus desktop notification, Twitter account @UVASafety, and select Health System Spok in-house pagers are activated. When the test is completed, an "all clear" message is issued.

What You Can Expect

  • If you have signed up for UVA Alerts text messaging system you should receive a test text and/or email message.  Sign up for UVA Alerts if you have not already done so.
  • If you are a current University member with an email account, you will receive a test email message.
  • If you are in a large classroom or a common area, you may hear a tone and see the message on an LED or LCD screen. 
  • If you are on the University home page (, you will see a popup box with the test message.  
  • If you are on the Emergency homepage ( you will see a box with the test message.  
  • If you are outside, you should hear a siren followed by a public address message:  "This is a test of the UVA emergency notification system. This is a test."  The siren sounds can be previewed here
  • If you follow @UVASafety on Twitter, you will see the test message there.
  • If Alertus desktop notification is installed on your computer and you are logged in and connected to the UVA network (either physically or via VPN;) you will see a popup window or a scrolling ticker.  Install Alertus if not already installed.
  • If you carry a select Health System Spok in-house pager, you will receive a test message.


All Clear

  • The siren will sound with three blasts followed by the message: "This concludes the test of the UVA emergency notification system."
  • Text messaging, email, LEDs, LCDs, @UVASafety Twitter account, Alertus desktop notification, the UVA homepage and Emergency page, and select Health System Spok In-house pagers will also convey the "all clear" message.


Typically, no action is required on your part during these tests. If you have questions or feedback, please contact UVA Emergency Management at or 434-982-0565.


Situation Updates

During an emergency, the best source of official for the most complete information will be the University’s Emergency Webpage. Schedule changes will be posted on the Operations Status Board, accessible through the Emergency Webpage.  Local television and radio stations will also be a source of information in severe weather situations. Key staff and student leaders, such as the Resident Staff, will also be equipped to communicate directly with students. All available forms of communication will be used to convey needed information to the University community.

Sign up for UVA Alerts

The University notifies registered users of an imminent threat via text message, email, and desktop alerts. UVA students and staff are eligible to register for these accounts.

Text/Email Message

UVA Alerts

Desktop Alerts

Alertus Desktop