It’s time to sign up for safety

Do we have your attention?

McGill is launching a new alert service, called Attention McGill, this fall that will permit rapid communication with all members of the McGill community in order to communicate an important message as quickly and completely as possible.

Everyone who signs up, that is. And that’s what Safety Week, Sept. 21-25, is all about.

Communications technology has evolved rapidly in recent years and that has given large institutions like universities a chance to improve their ability to deliver messages to their communities widely and rapidly.

Whether it is a school closure, a weather-related event, a power outage, or a campus incident that could affect the safety or security of large numbers of staff and students, universities sometimes need to communicate quickly and clearly to a large group of people scattered over a wide area and in many different buildings that are not linked to a central public-address system.

It is a major challenge, made more important by recent history on a number of campuses around the world, including Montreal. That’s why McGill is launching a state-of-the art automated notification service that can deliver a message or series of messages all at once to landline telephones, email addresses and cell phones.

The notification service will facilitate communication with thousands of individuals within minutes, all over the downtown campus and at Macdonald Campus. The service works by feeding a short text or voice message to cell phones, voice messages to landline telephones and e-mail messages to email addresses.

For all this to work most effectively, people need to sign up and provide their cell-phone numbers through Minerva. Cell numbers, email addresses and other information will be stored securely. The automatic notification service will only be used for important messages, not for routine information or spam.

“The automated notification service is a key part of our communications infrastructure that we will use to alert you to important information within moments,” said Associate Vice-Principal (University Services) Jim Nicell. “In order for you to get the timely information you need to help you react in the midst of a developing situation, you must opt-in with your cell phone number.”

To find out how to sign up, visit