According to Mike Christakis, assistant to the vice president at the University at Albany, about 70 percent of students opted in to the voluntary emergency text message notification system as of last year. The system was employed for the first time in the spring, during a snow emergency in which classes were cancelled.
"The way we had typically done it was on e-mail, but the odds of getting a text message are much greater," said Christakis.
The system is regularly tested to gauge how quickly and effectively students can be reached. The results are encouraging, said Christakis.
"The last test, 90 percent of respondents indicated thy received a notification within 15 minutes of the system going off," he said.
If the text message system is a success in Clifton Park, it could be sharpened to include addresses, so that residents of neighborhoods could be informed of smaller problems like an isolated water main break.
Hughes said that the emergency system is just one way Clifton Park is striving to make Town Hall a 24/7 resource for residents.
"It's all about leveraging the power of technology. You find ways to make things more seamless, more ubiquitous," he said.
Free registration for the system can be completed at www.cliftonpark.org/townhall. While there is no cost to register, the receipt of text messages may be subject to fees, depending on one's service plan.""