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Emergency Guidelines for the Campus Community

Frequently Asked Questions about the Princeton Telephone and E-mail Notification System (PTENS)

1. What is PTENS?
PTENS is an emergency notification system that allows authorized Princeton officials to send news and instructions simultaneously to individuals through landline phones, cellular phones, text messaging and e-mail. The benefits of the PTENS system are its immediacy and direct access to individual campus members through multiple points of contact.

PTENS complements tools the University already has in place to communicate with the University community during events such as weather-related closings, public health crises, public safety emergencies and other unique emergency situations. In the event of an actual emergency, the University will continue to relay critical information using the most appropriate options from a full range of notification resources: PTENS, Web announcements, e-mail, an automated message line, the Tiger TV emergency alert system, local radio stations, door-to-door notifications and posters.

2. How does a member of the University’s campus community enter contact information so that it can be available for use in emergencies?
All graduate and undergraduate students must enter emergency contact information through the self-service Student Course Online Registration Engine (SCORE) database: https://www.princeton.edu/score. Faculty and staff must enter emergency contact information through the Office of Human Resources self-service website: https://www.princeton.edu/selfservice.  

3. When entering data for use by the PTENS system, may one include contact information for a spouse or significant other so that they too will be alerted during emergencies? 
PTENS notifications are directed solely to the University member via the contact information provided. While students, faculty and staff are asked to provide "In Case of Emergency" contacts in the self-service databases for other purposes, this information is not relevant to nor used by the PTENS emergency notification system.

4When entering data for use by the PTENS system, may a person only include an e-mail address, but no phone numbers?
The PTENS system requires at least one valid phone number in order to accept the entire record for a specific person. If one provides only e-mail addresses, the system will not notify that person. The phone number may be a home phone, business phone or cell phone.

5. Will my cell phone automatically receive text messages?
Yes, unless you opted out of this feature or the service provider for the cell phone is T-Mobile.

T-Mobile Subcribers: The phone number you list as "Cell Phone" will receive text messages only if you confirm that you would like to receive them. Within days of entering a new phone number in the Cell Phone field in SCORE or HR Self-Service, you will receive an automated text message from the system requesting your confirmation. The message will be from "23177" and will state: PRINCETON ALERT: You have asked to receive SMS alerts from us. You must reply "Y TIGER" to confirm this request. Please use the reply feature on your phone, type Y TIGER, and press your Send key. You will receive another text message that will confirm that you will receive alerts.

All other service providers: For Verizon, ATT, etc., within days of entering your cell phone number into HR Self-Service or SCORE, you will receive a text message from "23177" with the following text: PRINCETON ALERT: You are now confirmed to receive alerts from us. More info text reply "HELP" or "STOP TIGER" to opt out. If you replied to this message with the text "STOP TIGER", you will have opted out and will not receive text messages. To opt in again, follow the instructions in Question 7.

6. Other members of the University community received emergency notification messages, but I did not. What should I do?

First, check your contact information in SCORE or HR Self-Service. Update any missing or incorrect information. Ensure that you have at least one valid phone number listed. Only students and individuals who receive a paycheck from the University are currently included in the PTENS system. Casual/hourly employees (see question 14) and individuals employed by an affiliate organization (see question 13) are not in the system.

If your contact information is up-to-date and you believe you should have received a message, please send an e-mail to PTENS@princeton.edu.

7. I expected to, but did not receive a text message on my cell phone.

Check your contact information in SCORE or HR Self-Service to ensure that you entered your cell phone number in the correct field (see question 5). If you may have opted out or if you are a T-Mobile subscriber and did not receive the opt-in message or did not reply to it, please follow these instructions to activate the service:

  • Cell Phone:
    • Choose the feature that allows you to compose a text message. In the "To" field, enter 23177
    • In the body of the text, type subscribe tiger
    • Press Send to send the message
    • You will receive an opt-in message from 23177 that states: PRINCETON ALERT: You have asked to receive SMS alerts from us. You must reply "Y TIGER" to confirm this request
    • Using the reply feature on your phone, type y tiger, and send the message.
    • You will receive a confirmation message that states: PRINCETON ALERT: You are now confirmed to receive alerts from us. More info text reply "HELP" or "STOP TIGER" to opt out.
  • BlackBerry or Smart Phone:
    • Add a new address into your address book, with the mobile phone number 23177
    • From your address book, select this entry and choose SMS Text
    • In the body of the text, type subscribe tiger
    • Send the message
    • You will receive an opt-in message that states: PRINCETON ALERT: You have asked to receive SMS alerts from us. You must reply "Y TIGER" to confirm this request
    • Using the reply feature on your phone, type y tiger, and send the message.
    • You will receive a confirmation message from 23177 that states: PRINCETON ALERT: You are now confirmed to receive alerts from us. More info text reply "HELP" or "STOP TIGER" to opt out.

8. I replied to the confirmation text message or attempted to subscribe to text messaging, but received an error.

First, ensure that your cell phone number is correctly entered in SCORE or HR Self-Service (see question 5). If this information appears to be correct, follow the instructions in question 7 to subscribe and confirm. Some individuals have had to go through the procedure more than once before they were successful. Also, be sure that you are entering the text correctly. There should be no quotation marks (") and there should be a space between y and tiger and between subscribe and tiger.

If you continue to have trouble, please send an e-mail to PTENS@princeton.edu.

9. What should I do if I cannot respond to the confirmation text message because I am away from my phone for an extended period of time (e.g., overseas for sabbatical or study abroad)?

You may subscribe to text messaging at any time. Once you are able to use your phone, simply follow the instructions in question 7.

10. My phone can receive text messages, but cannot send them. How may I opt in or out of the text messaging function?

Please discuss this with your cell phone provider. At this time, Connect-ED, the company the provides the PTENS service, is not able to handle this issue in any other manner.

12. Is there a charge for calls or text messages received from PTENS?

There is no extra charge for calls or text messages from PTENS. However, the phone call and text message is subject to the conditions and rates of your particular calling plan. For example, if your calling plan does not include text messaging, you may incur a charge for a text message received from PTENS, based on the rates of your cell phone service provider. Please note that with the exception of the annual system test, the University will only send text messages for urgent situations.

13. Are employees of University affiliates, such as McCarter Theater, included in the emergency notification system?
Employees of the Princeton Plasma Physics Lab and the Princeton University Press are included in PTENS. Employees of other affiliate organizations are not included. These individuals have access to more traditional communications methods used by the University, including Web postings and other aforementioned tools. However, they should primarily rely on the information and guidance provided by their own organizational leaders during an emergency.

14. Are casual/hourly employees included in the emergency notification system?
Most casual/hourly employees are not included in PTENS. However casual/hourly employees should make sure they provide contact information to their supervisors for use during an emergency situation. Supervisors will receive emergency notification and are expected to ensure all of their staff members are informed.

15.  Are non-Princeton University Community members who use University resources, such as recreation facilities, or University contractors included in the emergency notification system?
No, non-University members are not included in this system. Visitors to the University, including contractors and recreational facility users, may refer to the University website, the telephone hotlines, signs and personal communications for information. In recreational facilities, Athletics personnel inform facility users onsite when that facility must close during an emergency.

16. The e-mail notification from PTENS included a button to listen to the message, but not all computers have sound systems. Is the voice message the same as the text included in the e-mail?
Yes. The text of the voice message is repeated in the body of the e-mail. There is no need to listen to the .wav file with the voice message. The voice message is the same one that was transmitted via phone.

17. Another member of my household is also a member of the Princeton University community, yet we received only one phone call to our home.
The system recognizes phone numbers that are repeated and will only connect to a unique phone number once.

18. The phone directory lists a common phone number for multiple people in our office. Will we receive multiple phone calls via that phone?
No. The system recognizes phone numbers that are repeated and will only connect to a unique phone number once.

19. I did not receive a message on my office or dormitory phone.
If your phone has a call distribution system (e.g., press 1 for person A, press 2 for person B, etc.), the PTENS system is unable to leave a message. Otherwise, please refer to question 6.

20. I received the message, but my answering machine cut it off. Why?
The system attempts to detect what type of response it is receiving on the other end of the line. In most cases, the system accurately detects an answering machine and the message plays correctly. In some instances, the system incorrectly detects a live person and starts to deliver the message prior to the start of the recording.

21. The message on my cell phone kept looping and repeating. Why?
The system does its best to detect whether it has reached a live person or an answering machine. Sometimes when there is noise in the background, the system incorrectly identifies this as an answering machine. When this happens, it waits for a brief moment of silence before starting to play the message. Using the mute feature on the phone or moving to a quieter location may prevent the message from looping or repeating.

If you have additional questions about the PTENS System, please contact PTENS@princeton.edu.


©2007 The Trustees of Princeton University. Last modified 25-Aug-2009 14:37 by Robin M. Izzo